United States Virgin Islands Moves Ahead on Broadband Projects

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Above: US Virgin Islands Governor John de Jongh (Photo: OG)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network has awarded a series of contracts to local firms to begin the process of building the USVI’s broadband internet network infrastructure, Governor John de Jongh announced.

The board of directors of viNGN authorized $13.4 million in construction contracts for trenching that will allow for the implementation of high-speed fiber-optic cabling in the territory.

Along with a $700,000 contract approved last week for new facility access points along the network, the contracts total more than $14 million.

“The $14.1 million in construction contracts approved [this week] by the board will provide local construction spending to our island contractors and will come at a time when the Virgin Islands territory and our local economy can truly benefit from such monies,” said viNGN President Larry Kupfer.

The company plans to release solicitations over the next month for a combined $15.1 million in construction work and the purchase of building materials.

The US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration is partially funding the project through four grants. The USVI Legislature issued a $38 million bond as a matching contribution in April 2011.

“These awards and the soon-to-be-released solicitations signify new milestones in the development of the territory’s broadband network,” de Jongh said. “This project, made possible by a public/private partnership, is now in full swing, and high-speed Internet service is even closer to becoming a reality for the territory’s residents, government and businesses.”