Hawaiian Telcom received a $24 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission to expand high-speed internet coverage throughout rural areas in the state.
Through the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, Hawaiian Telcom intends to expand its high-speed internet services to more than 8,000 locations in the state by the end of 2027, including several places on the Big Island.
Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Ann Nishida Fry said the company is targeting sites all around the Big Island, including many communities in Puna and along the Hamakua Coast. The telecommunications company will reach out to customers when their locations are brought online.
The RDOF is a $20 billion project launched by the FCC last year to connect underserved areas with broadband internet.
A statement from Hawaiian Telcom indicates that it will provide rural areas access to 1 gigabit download speeds, which is 100 times faster than the average U.S. internet speeds, with 500 megabit upload speeds.
Fry added that the RDOF grant will not cover all of Hawaiian Telcom’s expansion costs, and the provider will be investing millions of its own funds as well.
The RDOF expansion is also separate from the Connect America Fund, a separate FCC project similarly expanding broadband services throughout the country. Fry said Hawaiian Telcom is midway through a six-year CAF project to enable service to more than 5,000 locations on the Big Island.