The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earmarked $954 million to restore and expand fixed and wireless infrastructure in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands following natural disasters during 2017.

Both US territories were heavily hit by hurricanes 2017, with 95 per cent of the base stations on Puerto Rico alone knocked out of service in the wake of Hurricane Maria in September. Some 4.3 per cent of sites remained out of service at 5 March, the FCC reported. In the US Virgin Islands, 13.8 per cent of sites were offline at the same date.

Under the FCC’s proposal $750 million will be placed into a Puerto Rico fund while $204 million will be set aside for the US Virgin Islands. The majority of the funds will be used to reestablish fixed broadband with $259 million allocated to restore and expand LTE across both territories.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (pictured) said the plan – which must still go through a formal approvals process – would provide efficient restoration of service and long-term improvement in communications infrastructure.

“With the 2018 hurricane season less than three months away, we need to take bold and decisive action,” he added.

Pai is scheduled to visit both territories in the coming days to assess progress already made and meet with authorities to discuss plans for the upcoming hurricane season.