back to article April Fool: FCC finally bothers with Puerto Rico as chairman visits

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally decided to address the months-long lack of telecoms service in Puerto Rico, one day before its chair visits the storm-ravaged island. It has been over five months since the US territory was struck by Hurricane Maria and yet, according to the FCC's own figures, 4.3 per …

  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    ... that anything will be actually done.

    1. elDog Silver badge

      Re: Unbelievable

      As the excellent article states - a big nothing-burger with a side possible ketchup. Possibly.

      This country makes a mockery of democracy.

      1. Suricou Raven

        Re: Unbelievable

        What democracy? Puerto Rico is a territory, not a state. That means they get no vote in the presidential election, and no representative in congress. They are a political non-entity - that's why no-one in Washington gives a pig's ear about them. No votes to be won there.

    2. Mitoo Bobsworth

      Re: Unbelievable

      Entirely believable, sadly - This is what happens when arseholes, idiots, misogynists & sycophants wrest the reins of power & position from common sense & decency into their avaricious hands Bless their black little hearts with coronary disease.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Unbelievable

      it's quite possible that this is a case of government getting in its own way.

  2. Len Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    For anyone who wants to know why Puerto Rico is treated like a bastard stepson I can thoroughly recommend this FT podcast. That governor is quite an impressive figure!

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Embarrassed to be American

    Well, it's hard to top Trump as a reason to be embarrassed about my country, but Pai is trying his best.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Embarrassed to be American

      Pai is Trump's creature. Expect to see many more like him, if your fellow citizens are fool enough to allow this administration to outlive the next election.

      But on this story, I have some sympathy. To me, "4.3%" sounds - pretty low, actually. Disaster recovery always has a long tail of sites that are just frickin' hard to fix, for one reason or another. I suspect that if Pai weren't, independently of this story, one of the most hated people in America - we wouldn't be hearing about it at all.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Embarrassed to be American

        4.3%" sounds - pretty low, actually.

        Try: nearly 1 on 20 of people in your country can't phone for fire / police / ambulance

        1. JetSetJim Silver badge

          Re: Embarrassed to be American

          >>4.3%" sounds - pretty low, actually.

          >Try: nearly 1 on 20 of people in your country can't phone for fire / police / ambulance

          is it population coverage or land-mass coverage? And what was the coverage before the storm? For example EE claims 75% geographical coverage for 4G, 99% for population

          Not that I'm excusing it - the graph looks pretty poor, as is Pai's position on a lot of things.

    2. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Embarrassed to be American

      You wait until 2020 with a Pai/Palin ticket. Then you'll be embarrassed.

  4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    In other words, it is a nothing burger with a side order of nothing.

    Which he will multiply 500 fold, whilst singing "Anything Jesus can do, I can do better".

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      I don't think anyone other than Pai will believe that... unless next week he walks on water.

  5. Comments are attributed to your handle

    I can't help but think that this hurricane + associated fallout was an obvious FALSE FLAG distraction by Mother Nature (a registered DUMBOCRAT and climate change campaigner) to deflect from KILLARY CLINTON'S email server. In fact I'd bet the hurricane helped wipe away EVIDENCE of her wrongdoing from the server rooms of Puerto Rico. WHAT'S NEXT? A tornado in Hawaii sweeping away OBAKA's fake birth certificate$?

  6. Rich_B

    I live in Michigan and can attest to the fact that at least 4.3% of the state is out of mobile phone range. Big deal -- we somehow survive.

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      not that 4.3%

      I was going to say the same thing about Canada where the number is probably actually reverse. However, not many people live in that other percentage area. (That's another discussion.) However, the article is just not clear. I believe they're talking about recovery, in other words, 4.3% of what got broken.

      1. Cuddles Silver badge

        Re: not that 4.3%

        "I believe they're talking about recovery, in other words, 4.3% of what got broken."

        Indeed. I was also going to comment that lacking 4.3% coverage probably makes them better than the UK, but the graph in the article makes it clear that it actually means 4.3% of existing equipment has not yet been repaired and/or replaced. I don't know what their actual coverage is, but the point is that it's currently significantly worse than it was a year ago.

      2. kierenmccarthy

        Re: not that 4.3%

        Yes - that's correct.

        This is recovering to where they were before the storm.

        Also bear in mind this is SIX MONTHS after the storm. Texas, Florida etc was back up to 100 per cent within a few weeks.

        I'll be clearer if I write another story about this.


  7. 0laf Silver badge

    From a politicians point of view he's probably doing a great job. Being seen saying the right things without actually committing to do or spend anything. Meanwhile he can continue the work of his corporate peers back at home.

    Excellent work really, next stop congress. I'm sure he'll get plenty of corporate sponsorship.

  8. felixk

    No, Mary, it's not Paij's fault

    Amazing how stupid politics can make people. I am used to it from the article's author – his name notwithstanding, McCarthy regards everything to the right of Stalin as deeply suspect – but what's with the commnenters? The Reg usually attracts smarter readers, or so I thought:

    For one, the FCC does not manage telecommunications on the island of PR. No, they have their own board ("Junta Reglementadora de Telecomunicaciones", Telecommunications Regulatory Board) controlled by the Gobierno de Puerto Rico. Said government is happy to explain this in its FCC filings:

    "The Telecommunications Regulatory Board of Puerto Rico (TRB) is the Government agency created by virtue of Act 213 of September 12, 1996, known as the Telecommunications Act of Puerto Rico of 1996, to regulate the telecommunications and Cable TV markets. At present, it has jurisdiction over intra-island services provided by the telecommunications companies, and is the franchising entity for Cable TV companies doing business in Puerto Rico.

    The TRB is also in charge of the administration of the Universal Service Fund of Puerto Rico (PRUSF) and the certification of eligibility to receive funds from both the U.S. and the PRUSF. […]"

    Of course, they drove everthing associated with it into the ground, just like they did with the government-controlled electricity monopoly, the territory's finances and its entire economy. The only economic activity that seems in full bloom is corruption.

    And finally, the "4.3 %" number is the amount of the island without cell phone service. Mr McCarthy neglected to tell us whether that was by area, by number of cell towerd, by population or perhaps using average summer temperatures as the proxy variable. I am willing to bet that the number is based on island area = 100%, and the 4.3% of the island have about five inhabitants.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: No, Mary, it's not Paij's fault

      "the FCC does not manage telecommunications on the island of PR"

      Okay, lets admit that. If that is the case, then why the big show and tell about some nonexistent money ?

      If Pai has nothing to do with the problem, he has no reason to fund its resolution.

      I think you need to recheck your facts.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No, Mary, it's not Paij's fault

      That post is absurd on the face of it. If it's not the FCC's responsibility, as you claim to believe - why are they pretending to put money on the table to fix it, instead of pointing to the right persons?

      But of course you're wrong, and a cursory check shows it. The FCC has the same status in Puerto Rico as anywhere else in the US:

      "The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories."

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Article is ridiculous

    I can quite believe that the extra money form the FCC is just smoke and mirrors for political effect but the main thrust of this article and the previous one is that reducing the reporting interval from 1 day to 3 days and a week has substantially increased the time to make repairs. This is nonsense a 1 day reporting period is micromanagement and difficult to see how it makes a difference except perhaps slowing down repairs with the effort and change of focus to creating and presenting daily reports. the graphs given in evidence are linear for the bulk of the repairs and then in the last 25% average repair times becoming longer and longer exactly as would be expected from Paereto or any real world experience.

    The idea that changing the reporting interval from 1 day to 1 week makes more than a marginal difference suggest someone with no real world experience or judgement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Article is ridiculous

      "This is nonsense a 1 day reporting period is micromanagement and difficult to see how it makes a difference except perhaps slowing down repairs with the effort and change of focus to creating and presenting daily reports. "

      Except the slowing down happened *after* the reporting period was increased. So, Real World data disagrees with you at least in this case.

    2. kierenmccarthy

      Re: Article is ridiculous

      It would be ridiculous if the ACTUAL DATA didn't prove it to be true.

      It's not even close to being a coincidence. And it happened no less than three times.

      We can debate about why more frequent reporting resulted in faster recovery - my pet theory is that there are some very good folks at the FCC who use data to provide pressure - but not that it didn't happen. It did.

  10. VinceLortho


    It's a private telecom system, why is tax money involved? Make the carriers repair the telecom systems or have the operating licenses revoked?

    The heart of the matter seems to be a land grab. By making Puerto Rico less livable people are moving and selling out cheap. The telecom system will be repaired (with what appears to be a big subsidy for the rich) when new wealthy enclave development starts.

    Republicans love to spend on welfare for the rich.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picture a island wide F3+ tornado going across PR - that will give you an idea of the destruction caused to above ground anything. And unlike Texas and Florida, the island is 1000+ miles from all the hardware and most of the technical support that mainland US states have.

    Having said this, the fact that 3 million plus US Citizens, statehood or not, are being so poorly served by their national government (and their local government too) is a disgrace to all Americans, unless you are a red hat that still doesn't realize the US took PR from Spain in a war started by the Fox news of its time, the Hearst newspapers. I can only hope that in 2020 we will be singing "Bye, Bye American Pai, et al".

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      "the Fox news of its time, the Hearst newspapers."

      I am so going to steal that - Have an up-vote in exchange.

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