Grant to offer broadband access

Hawaiian Telcom received an $18.1 million federal grant over 10 years to expand high-speed broadband access to rural areas of Hawaii, including Maui, Molokai and Lanai, Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz announced last month.

The funding is authorized through the Federal Communications Commission’s The Connect America Fund Phase II auction, a 10-year program intended to close the digital divide in rural America, Schatz said. The funding will provide broadband access to 3,936 residents and businesses in rural Hawaii.

The areas Hawaiian Telcom plans to expand broadband service to include Haiku, Hana and Olowalu on Maui; Kaunakakai and Ualapue on Molokai; and Lanai City.

“Broadband access opens doors,” said Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation and the Internet. “This investment will help people in Hawaii’s most rural areas access health care, do their homework, make a living, and more.”