In August 2021, Governor David Ige designated the University of Hawaiʻi System to lead and coordinate a broad-scale strategic investment effort to ensure all Hawaiʻi’s citizens have access to robust and reliable broadband services. The University is collaborating with the Hawaiʻi Broadband and Digital Equity Office and other funding recipients in the State (e.g., Hawaiian Telcom) to ensure that the more than $400 million allocated to Hawaiʻi is maximized, meaning that no one area sees duplicated efforts and all of our islands and communities can benefit from the programs available to us.
Funding will largely be dedicated towards middle mile and last mile infrastructure developments with a priority for locations without any Internet service, underserved locations (those with speeds consistently under 100/20 Mbps), rural and high-cost communities, and covered populations (e.g., low-income households, aging, incarcerated, veterans, individuals with disabilities, those with a language barrier, individuals of a racial or ethnic minority, and individuals residing in rural areas), as well as digital literacy skills development.
To summarize, our goals for the State are:
- High-speed Internet availability for all;
- Affordable access for all; and
- Digital literacy skills for all
Formally titled ʻApakau ka lā (transl. ‘spreading of the sun’s rays’), this metaphoric expression captures the State’s intent to build out reliable broadband infrastructure to every community and guarantee accessibility for every resident. This broadband investment initiative, a once in a generation occurrence, is a chance for Hawaiʻi to ensure that the goals historically outlined in the 2008 Task Force Report, both editions of the Strategic Broadband Report, and most recently, our Five-Year Action Plan, are met.
Garret Yoshimi, Broadband Director and VPIT/CIO of the University of Hawaiʻi
Susan Hirai, State Broadband Grant Program Coordinator
Sara Lin, Broadband Communications Specialist
Kiman Wong, Broadband Infrastructure Architect
Micah Chao, Broadband Data Specialist
Krystal Lopez, Broadband Research Analyst