David Y Ige | DHHL Press Release: Telecom service options expand to Hawaiian homelands

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DHHL Press Release: Telecom service options expand to Hawaiian homelands

Posted on January 13, 2022 in Current Department News, Newsroom

(Kapolei, O’ahu) – Broadband telecommunications customers in Hawaiian Home Lands will soon have more options as a previous exclusivity clause that allowed only one provider to issue telecommunications products was removed. The recent federal law coupled with expanded service options will now allow service users in their home countries to purchase telecommunications services from a provider of their choice.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) began notifying its tenants, tenants and permit holders of the change through a letter signed this week by Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman William J. Ailā, Jr.

Sandwich Isle Communications, Inc. (SIC) was for many years the exclusive provider of broadband telecommunications services under DHHL License No. 372 (License 372), granted on May 9, 1995 to SIC’s parent company, Waimana Enterprises, Inc. , was issued.

On June 30, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed a Memorandum Opinion and Order stating that all exclusivity claims arising from License 372 are anticipated by federal law and are therefore unenforceable.

Subsequently, on August 31, 2021, Hawaiian Telcom (HT) completed the purchase of inter-island submarine and terrestrial fiber optic infrastructure assets from the bankruptcy estate of Paniolo Cable Company, a company formerly owned by the Waimana Enterprises, Inc. family of companies .

HT’s purchase of the assets of the bankrupt Paniolo Cable Company did not involve any previously negotiated commercial arrangements with SIC. SIC’s use of the inter-island submarine and middle-mile system to provide broadband telecommunications services to Hawaiian homelands will end on March 31, 2022, barring a new arrangement.

The 2017 FCC order in connection with HT’s purchase of telecommunications equipment on DHHL properties means that DHHL lessees, tenants and permitees now have more options for broadband telecommunications services. In addition, a new conduit use agreement between SIC and Charter Communications, operating as Spectrum in Hawaii, will open up additional services.

Current SIC customers can choose to continue with their current service or select services from other providers, including Hawaiian Telcom, Spectrum or other carriers capable of offering broadband telecommunications services.

“Residential residents now have more options to bring internet into their homes, and this is really just the beginning of the Department’s efforts to increase digital equity for the native Hawaiian community,” said Vice Chair Tyler Iokepa Gomes. “Improving broadband access is a top priority for Indigenous communities across the country and with our recent acquisition of 2.5GHz licenses and an expected infusion of federal funding, the Department is poised to expand and expand homestead broadband services across the state improve.”

DHHL receives at least $90 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide high-speed Internet access to the native Hawaiian community. In 2021, the Department received the last of five Neighboring Islands licenses from the FCC to access the 2.5 GHz band spectrum for wireless broadband network development. Details on the Ministry of Broadband Services expansion plan are expected by the end of 2022.

Visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/asset-management for more information.

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About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is realizing Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by bringing them back to the land. Established by U.S. Congress in 1921 with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program operated by DHHL involves the stewardship of over 200,000 acres of land statewide with the specific purpose of developing and providing homesteading.

Media contact:

Cedric Duarte
Information and Community Relations Officer
Hawaiian Homelands Department
(808) 620-9591
(808) 342-0873
[email protected]

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