Hawaiian Telcom announced an $87 million fiber broadband project to expand the average mile infrastructure across the state. Middle mile infrastructure carries large amounts of data over long distances, increases the capacity of local area networks, increases network resiliency, and helps connect unserved regions to the Internet backbone.
The project will build 15 new half-mile, land and submarine fiber routes to better connect the islands.
Federal funding for the project is part of the Biden-Harris Administrations Investing in America program and the Internet for All Initiative. A total of $37 million was issued to Hawaiian Telcom through an award from the US Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The company will provide $50 million in matching funds and in-kind contributions to the project.
Hawaiian Telcom was the sole grant recipient in Hawaii, which invests in building regional networks that connect to national Internet networks.
Hawaiian Telcom has been instrumental in keeping Hawaii connected to the world since 1883 and this project is an example of our continued commitment to Hawaii, said Su Shin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Telcom. It will expand broadband access throughout the islands, unlocking unlimited potential for innovation, education, telehealth, collaboration and so much more. We look forward to working with our federal, state and county governments to achieve digital equity for all of Hawaii. I am very proud of our team for developing a comprehensive and innovative plan to expand fiber broadband infrastructure in the Hawaiian Islands that met the stringent criteria of the NTIA.
Everyone in Hawaii should have access to high-speed Internet, said Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This new funding will provide us with the resources we need to stay connected to each other and to the world by expanding broadband infrastructure between islands and across the state, and help ensure more families and small businesses can get service Reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
Isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii depends solely on transpacific fiber-optic cable to provide the first mile, or backbone, of our Internet access, said Congressman Ed Case. The bipartisan infrastructure bill that I supported made possible the funding that will now help connect that backbone to the next middle mile infrastructure that is critical to the comprehensive construction of an advanced network to serve people across our state in communities both urban and rural. This grant is especially important to ensure that broadband connectivity is accessible to both underserved and underserved people so that they too can connect to the global network that is an essential part of our daily lives.
Digital equity is a fundamental right for everyone in Hawaii, especially our neighboring islands and rural communities in my congressional district, said Congresswoman Jill Tokuda. It’s about access and convenience. The infrastructure expansions funded by this grant will help our residents access essential services like telehealth and education and strengthen the resilience of our networks so our families stay connected even during natural disasters.
Our top priority is to create positive change in Hawaii. We need reliable internet connectivity for all residents, from keiki to kpuna, wherever they reside in Hawaii, so they can access all the opportunities and benefits broadband can offer, said Governor Josh Green, MD. , we are working hard to increase digital equity and are grateful to all of our industry partners for their continued investments to expand more fiber infrastructure across the state and to aggressively pursue federal support.
As an island state, building reliable broadband infrastructure in the middle mile is critical to ensuring high-speed connectivity for Hawaiian communities. The NTIA grant is a huge step toward closing the connectivity gap so every underserved and underserved community, rural or urban, can access reliable Internet, said Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. I look forward to working closely with Hawaiian Telcom to advance this project to improve our state’s broadband resiliency.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in U.S. communities.
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