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LETTER: Hawai‘i’s Submarine Fiber-Optic Cables Reaching End of Life Span

January 18, 2019, 1:15 PM HST
* Updated January 18, 12:37 PM
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Hawaii has three main submarine fiber-optic cables that link all main islands. Two of these cables will be reaching the end of their 25 year lifespan (HICS and HIFN).

The third fiber-optic cable is owned by Paniolo Cable Company LLC. Paniolo is an affiliate of Sandwich Isles Communications, the beleaguered rural local exchange carrier serving DHHL homesteads statewide.

The investors who bankrolled the Paniolo cable project, which was ready for service in 2009, initiated involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against Paniolo in late 2018. This legal action, along with Sandwich Isles Communications uncertain future, may force the sale of Paniolo’s assets.

Both companies currently use either Hawaii Island Fiber-Network (HIFN), or Hawaii Island Cable System (HICS) for inter-island connectivity. The latter cables don’t support modern standards, which limits the scalability of these networks.

Paniolo, on the other hand, is much newer and supports modern standards.

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I hope either Hawaiian Telcom, or Charter Communications (Spectrum) attempt to acquire Paniolo’s assets if and when they’re put up for sale.

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