Hawaiian Telcom announced an $87 million fiber broadband project to expand middle mile infrastructure throughout the state. Middle mile infrastructure carries large amounts of data over long distances, increases capacity to local networks, boosts network resiliency, and helps connect unserved regions to the Internet backbone.
The project will build 15 new middle mile fiber routes, over land and undersea to better connect the islands.
The federal funding for the project is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America program and the Internet for All Initiative. A total of $37 million was issued to Hawaiian Telcom via a US Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration award. The company will be providing $50 million in matching funds and in-kind contributions toward the project.
Hawaiian Telcom was the only Hawaiʻi recipient of the grant, which invests in building regional networks that connect to national Internet networks.
“Hawaiian Telcom has been instrumental in keeping Hawaiʻi connected to the world since 1883 and this project is an example of our continued commitment to Hawaiʻi,” said Su Shin, President & General Manager of Hawaiian Telcom. “It will expand broadband access across the islands, unlocking limitless potentional for innovation, education, telehealth, collaboration, and so much more. We look forward to partnering with our federal, state, and county governments to achieve digital equity for all of Hawaiʻi. I am very proud of our team for developing a comprehensive and innovative plan to expand fiber broadband infrastructure across the Hawaiian islands that met the NTIAʻs stringent criteria.”
“Everyone in Hawai‘i should have access to high-speed internet,” said Senator Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “This new funding will give us the resources we need to remain connected to each other and the world by expanding broadband infrastructure between islands and across the state, and help make sure more families and small businesses can get affordable, dependable high-speed internet service.”
“Isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai‘i is uniquely dependent on the trans-Pacific fiber optic cable to provide the first mile, or backbone, of our access to the Internet,” said Congressman Ed Case. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that I supported made possible the funding that will now help connect that backbone to the next ‘middle mile’ infrastructure that is critical to full buildout of an advanced network to serve people throughout our state in both urban and rural communities. This grant is especially key to ensuring that broadband connectivity is also accessible to the unserved and underserved so that they, too, can connect to the global network that is an essential part of our daily life.”
“Digital equity is a critical right for everyone in Hawai‘i, especially for our neighbor islands and the rural communities in my congressional district,” said Congresswoman Jill Tokuda. “It’s about access and affordability. The infrastructure expansions funded by this grant will help our residents to access essential services like telehealth and education, and strengthen the resiliency of our networks so that our families remain connected even through natural disasters.”
“Our top priority is to create positive change in Hawai‘i. We need reliable internet connectivity for all residents, from keiki to kūpuna, wherever they reside in Hawai‘i, so they can access all the opportunities and benefits that broadband can offer,” said Governor Josh Green, M.D. “As a state, we are working hard to increase digital equity and are grateful to all of our industry partners for their continued investment to expand more fiber infrastructure statewide and for aggressively pursuing federal support.”
“As an island state, building reliable middle mile broadband infrastructure is critical to ensuring high-speed connectivity for Hawai‘i’s communities. The NTIA grant is a huge step towards bridging gaps in connectivity, so that every community – unserved and underserved, rural or urban, can access reliable internet,” said Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke. “I look forward to working closely with Hawaiian Telcom to see this project forward to improve our state’s broadband resiliency.”
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes a historic $65 billion investment to expand affordable and reliable high-speed Internet access in communities across the US.