Letter to the Editor: DHHL Internet ServiceAugust 23, 2020, 11:18 AM HST (Updated August 23, 2020, 11:18 AM)
The following is a letter to the editor. It does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Big Island Now or Pacific Media Group. It has not been edited for content.
Native Hawaiian homesteaders living on Hawaiian Homelands have received shoddy internet service from Sandwich Isles Communications, DHHL’s exclusive telecommunications provider for voice and data services, over the last several years. SIC offers a maximum 15Mbps/3Mbps DSL service, which is significantly slower than Hawaiian Telcom and Spectrum’s residential service offerings.
Sandwich Isles’s lack of speed upgrades is because they’ve been insolvent since 2013. Their insolvency has lead to the filing multiple lawsuits against them by the creditors of Paniolo Cable LLC, and the Federal government. These various lawsuits will ultimately result in the dissolution of Sandwich Isles.
There are two options for how this will play out. The first option is one entity purchases Paniolo Cable/Sandwich Isles and keeps the assets intact. This is the less disruptive option for DHHL homesteader’s internet/voice connectivity. If there are multiple buyers for these assets, the likelihood of a major service disruption is very real.
DHHL has a fiduciary responsibility that all Native Hawaiian homesteaders have uninterrupted voice/data service. They entered into an exclusive agreement with Sandwich Isles in 1995, which barred other companies from serving these areas. This is why DHHL needs to take the lead in ensuring homesteader access to these necessary utilities.