Hawaiian Telcom subscribers will be unable to view tonight’s University of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine volleyball season opener after the cable operator said it was denied access to the matches.
Under first-year head coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos, the Rainbow Wahine debut against Marquette at 7 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Hawaiian Telcom has shown Rainbow Wahine matches since 2011 but said its 43,000 subscribers will be denied the matches this season due to a “last minute” decision by rival cable operator Spectrum, the TV rights holder.
Multiple spokespeople for Spectrum, formerly known as Oceanic Time Warner, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In a statement to the Star-Advertiser, Hawaiian Telcom said it: “originally purchased the rights to UH sports from Oceanic Time Warner Cable in 2011, before Charter/Spectrum’s takeover. Since the launch of Hawaiian Telcom TV in 2011, this agreement has allowed our local University of Hawaii (UH) Women’s Volleyball fans to watch the games on Hawaiian Telcom TV, ensuring maximum exposure for the UH athletics program and its student athletes.
“Now, with no change in circumstance and clearly for its own financial gain, Spectrum pulled UH Wahine volleyball games from Hawaiian Telcom TV. At the last minute and with no notice, they moved the games to OC 16, a channel only available on Spectrum, leaving many Hawaiian Telcom TV subscribers who are loyal UH Wahine volleyball fans with no ability to watch the games. They are allowed to get away with this anti-competitive behavior because federal laws require that they provide access to NCAA Division I football and basketball only. We fought hard to stop this, but Spectrum has refused all of our requests to purchase this content, effectively denying Hawaiian Telcom’s more than 43,000 local subscribers access to these games.”
Hawaiian Telcom said it “continues to explore all available remedies to fight for our loyal UH sports fans and enable them to watch these games on Hawaiian Telcom TV as they have done for the past six years.
“We are encouraging our customers who are frustrated to voice their concerns & file a complaint with the FCC at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.”