FCC grants Hawaii counties $18.1M to expand rural broadband services
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FCC grants Hawaii counties $18.1M to expand rural broadband services

The Federal Communications Commission today authorized more than $18.1 million in funding to expand broadband services to over 3,900 unserved rural homes and businesses in Hawaii’s four counties over the next decade.

The funding, which provider Hawaiian Telcom Inc. begins receiving this month, comes from the Connect America Fund Phase II auction as part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.

“I’m pleased to announce that funding starts now for buildout of high-speed Internet service to over 3,936 rural Hawaii state homes and businesses, which will bring them to the right side of the digital divide and give them access to the 21st-century opportunities that broadband provides,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a news release. “The FCC’s first-ever auction of fixed broadband support exceeded our expectations. Indeed, in Hawaii, Hawaiian Telcom will be deploying gigabit-speed connections to all locations for which funding is being authorized today. Moreover, this deployment is costing taxpayers much less than initially projected because the Commission allocated this funding through competitive bidding.”

Nationwide, the auction allocated more than $1.4 billion to expand broadband services to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses in 12 states over the next decade. FCC will be authorizing additional funding waves in coming months as final applications of the winning bidders from the auction are approved.

As part of auction terms, providers must build out 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in a state within three years. The build-out must increase by 20% in each subsequent year until completed by the end of the sixth year.

“Fiber is the future and Hawaiian Telcom remains committed to expanding fiber broadband across our island state,” Hawaiian Telcom President and General Manager John Komeiji said in a statement. “Combined with our own capital investment, this federal support enables us to fulfill our mission as Hawaii’s Technology Leader by expanding broadband and fiber-based services to more local residents and businesses. We are proud to be the only local provider actively expanding broadband to underserved rural areas here in Hawaii. As the use of connected devices continues to grow, it’s important for more of our local residents and businesses to have access to higher speeds.”

Below is a complete list by county, along with the minimum download/upload speeds to be provided, amount of funding over 10 years, and number of homes and businesses to be served by Hawaiian Telcom:

>> Hawaii County, 1 Gbps/500 Mbps, $10,228,092, 2,117

>> Honolulu County, 1 Gbps/500 Mbps, $1,117,553, 369

>> Kauai County, 1 Gbps/500 Mbps, $2,154,265, 672

>> Maui County, 1 Gbps/500 Mbps, $4,660,728, 778

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