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Hawaii gets help providing broadband to rural areas

Hawaiian Telcom will receive $400,000 in federal funding over the next three years to subsidize the cost of providing broadband internet service to 519 households in rural areas of the state.

The funding is part of the Federal Communications Commission’s new “Connect America” program designed to extend the reach of high-speed internet into unserved areas of the country.

The FCC estimates that more than 17 percent of Hawaii’s rural population — about 7,700 households — do not have a broadband internet connection. Hawaii ranks 32nd out of 50 state in the rate of rural broadband availability,  according to the FCC.

The FCC is spending $115 million in the first phase of the Connect America program to expand broadband service to 400,000 residents in 36 states.

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