Broadband expands to rural areas

Using some federal funds, Hawaiian Telcom has expanded its fiber broadband to 5,000 rural areas in Hawaii, including Huelo on Maui and Kaluakoi on Molokai, the company announced Tuesday.

The expansion uses federal Connect America Fund money; it was the first time Hawaiian Telcom used those funds on Molokai, the company said.

In 2015, Hawaiian Telcom was awarded about $26 million in CAF Phase II money to deploy a minimum of 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 Mbps upstream to more than 11,000 unserved locations by 2020. The Federal Communications Commission selects CAF-eligible areas.

About 70 percent of the deployments used fiber-to-the-premise, or FTTP, technology, enabling access to 1 gigabit per second high-speed internet service.

“We’re proud to be the only local provider actively expanding broadband within high-cost rural areas and of our ability to deploy speeds more than 100 times higher than the federal requirement,” said Scott Barber, president and CEO.