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Broadband gets a boost in new law signed by Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill into law today to temporarily exempt the development of broadband infrastructure from state and county permitting requirements.

The law allows for permitting exemptions for five years – from 2012 to 2017 – on broadband upgrades on existing utility poles and conduits used for telecommunications. Telecommunications companies would also be exempt from new utility pole replacement regulations on broadband upgrades.

The law is intended to expand access to high-speed Internet service in Hawaii.

“This is the first major step, I believe, in making a commitment to broadband expansion and capacity and availability that will literally give us the opportunity to have a future here in Hawaii, most particularly a future for our young people,” Abercrombie said.

The governor also signed a bill into law that will allow the Hawaii 3R’s program to receive taxpayer money targeted for school repair and maintenance.

A $2 check off on state income tax returns generates about $150,000 a year.

Over the past decade, Hawaii 3R’s has awarded 512 grants totaling $17.7 million to 186 schools for minor repair projects.

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