FCC grants Hawaii counties $18.1M to expand rural broadband services (Star Advertiser)

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday 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. will begin 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.

“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,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “Hawaiian Telcom will be deploying gigabit- speed connections to all locations for which funding is being authorized today. 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.

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.

Below is a complete list by county of the amount of funding over 10 years to be served by Hawaiian Telcom:

>> Hawaii County: $10,228,092 for 2,117 homes and businesses

>> City and County of Honolulu: $1,117,553 for 369 homes and businesses

>> Kauai County: $2,154,265 for 672 homes and businesses

>> Maui County: $4,660,728 for 778 homes and businesses

The minimum download speed will be 1 gigabit per second; the minimum upload speed, 500 megabits per second.

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