The Eloy S. Inos Administration is closing out on a $1.2 million federal grant to study the use, accessibility, coverage and cost of broadband in the CNMI, with a report updating an earlier 2012 broadband survey expected to be finished sometime this week, according to press secretary Ivan Blanco.
“We are doing the close-out documents,” Blanco told Saipan Tribune yesterday. Additionally, he said, a report that maps out Internet usage in the CNMI is nearly complete and will be released by the CNMI Department of Commerce.
Blanco said the report will contain information that the CNMI’s anchor institutions—its public schools, hospital, college, and first responders—can use to apply for grants to improve their broadband usage.
The federal grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration amounts to $1,210,116. The grant was awarded in 2010
So far, Blanco said, the CNMI has used $1,203,170.
The new study is seen as a “follow-up” study to cover broadband usage in the Commonwealth covering the years from 2012 to 2014.
The report will map out how many people have Internet, for example, and also get into download or upload speeds in the CNMI.
Blanco said a team from the U.S. mainland was contracted to conduct the study and has met with providers like IT&E, iConnect, and Docomo Pacific, to determine the level of service.
“People want Internet,” Blanco noted, adding that the last Commerce report in 2012 showed that the CNMI is second in the entire United States with “cost-prohibitive” Internet.