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Another regulator OKs Cincinnati Bell’s purchase of Hawaiian Telcom

  • STAR-ADVERTISER FILE

    Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom announced their plan in July, and expect the $650 million sale to close in the second half of 2018.

A proposed new owner of Hawaiian Telcom will have to maintain a current low-cost internet service offer and spend at least $20 million expanding and improving Hawaiian Telcom’s network under a state order issued today.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs issued the order under which it conditionally approved mainland telecommunications company Cincinnati Bell to acquire Hawaiian Telcom.

The approval by DCCA’s Cable Television Division is one of several state and federal approvals needed for the acquisition to happen.

Cincinnati Bell and Hawaiian Telcom announced their plan in July, and expect the $650 million sale to close in the second half of 2018.

Other conditions DCCA is imposing include providing at least 15,000 homes with new or upgraded network lines within four years of the takeover, honoring Hawaiian Telcom labor agreements, maintaining local management and not disrupting or terminating service.

The internet service promotion to be maintained offers connection speeds of up to 7 megabits per second for downloads and up to 1 Mbps for uploads at $9.95 per month.

Another condition requires Hawaiian Telcom to deploy a mobile app for public WiFi throughout the state via partnerships with Hawaii businesses within two years of its acquisition.

DCCA’s approval was given following a public hearing earlier this year.

“Upon an extensive review of the merger transaction application and related filings, which included a public hearing, we determined that the proposed transfer of (Hawaiian Telcom’s) Oahu cable franchise to Cincinnati Bell, with the conditions imposed on by the state, is in the public’s best interest,” Cable TV division Administrator Ji Sook “Lisa” Kim said in a statement. “As set forth in the decision and order, Cincinnati Bell is committed to improving and extending (Hawaiian Telcom’s) networks in Hawaii and continuing to provide a low-cost internet option for Hawaii’s consumers.”

The order is available at cca.hawaii.gov/catv.

Other agencies yet to approve the acquisition include the state Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.

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