May 24, 2024


This is in response to letters from Mr. Tengan, the Tribal Broadband Coordinator for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL)

Why has Sandwich Isles Communications (SIC) been providing telecommunications services on Hawaiian Home Lands (HHL) for the last 30 years?
  • Hawaiian Telephone refused to serve all of HHL, even after DHHL sought help from the Public Utilities Commission and the Consumer Advocate to force them to live up to their obligation of carrier of last resort. (Please see the video Traditional landlines could disappear soon. on SIC's website to see why companies like Hawaiian Telcom and AT&T do not want this obligation to provide service everywhere and why the tribal broadband program is not a substitute).
  • Hoaliku Drake, then Chairperson of DHHL, asked a beneficiary to solve this problem; thus, SIC was created to build a telecommunications network that not only would provide service on all HHL, but at no cost to DHHL or the beneficiaries.
  • SIC used Federal programs and borrowed over $400M to build a fiber optic network, including interisland, serving ONLY homesteaders. The network is underground so in cases of disaster, like the Lahaina fire, SIC customers, like at Leiali'i, immediately had service when Maui Electric Company restored power.
Why might SIC be unable to continue service?
  • Changes in the Federal programs that SIC used required a restructuring of their loan, which although initially approved, was never finalized. SIC has actually been continuing to provide service to homesteaders for the last five years even though it has been losing money.
  • The sensational news of an executive using funds for personal expenses has nothing to do with SIC, that person was never a paid SIC employee.
  • None of SIC customer revenues were misspent, as proven by annual audits of the company.
Has DHHL been working with this beneficiary-owned company? Quite the opposite.
  • DHHL petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke our license issued by DHHL.
  • DHHL has allowed Hawaiian Telcom to use HHL granted to SIC without compensating SIC, thus preventing SIC from collecting revenues that would be able to pay for your services and repay the loans.
  • DHHL has cooperated with Hawaiian Telcom to take this beneficiary owned network so it could be used for the entire state, instead of just for homesteaders.
  • SIC has been asking for a series of workshops to educate the commissioners and beneficiaries of these issues, but the request has fallen on deaf ears.
What can you do? Contact your commissioner!
  • Ask why HHL that once was used exclusively for homesteaders is now going to benefit the entire state without making sure all homesteaders are served?
  • Ask why DHHL is not getting free infrastructure from Hawaiian Telcom as they did from SIC for using HHL?
  • Demand a workshop. DHHL is required to seek homesteader input before implementing major policy changes that will affect them.
SIC has never lied to you. DHHL cannot say the same. Please excuse Mr. Tengan since he was not yet in high school when this began.