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Hawaiian Telcom Unleashes 1 Gig Internet on Hawaii Island

Today Hawaiian Telcom announced that it has expanded availability of its ultra-fast 1 gigabit per second High-Speed Internet service to homes in Hawai‘i Island’s Puʻu Lani Ranch subdivision and the surrounding Puʻuanahulu area, using Fiber-to-the-Premise (FTTP) technology. Hawaiian Telcom has been extending its broadband infrastructure on Hawaiʻi Island, an effort partially supported by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF).

Initially launched in 2015, Hawaiian Telcom’s Fiber 1 Gig service is the fastest in Hawaiʻi and among the fastest in the nation. Today more than 125,000 homes and 5,600 businesses statewide are enabled for 1 gigabit per second service and Hawaiian Telcom continues to expand availability to new locations every month.

“As Hawaiʻi’s Technology Leader and our state’s only local service provider, Hawaiian Telcom is committed to increasing speeds and expanding broadband access statewide,” said Scott Barber, President and CEO. “Puʻu Lani Ranch is our first 1 gigabit per second deployment using CAF Phase II support and we’re excited about the increased educational and economic opportunities that are now open to this community with Hawaiʻi’s fastest internet.”

One gigabit per second, which is equal to 1,000 megabits per second, enables multiple connected devices to run bandwidth-intense applications like streaming video and online gaming simultaneously over a shared connection without sacrificing quality.

“Studies have shown that there are at least eight Internet-connected devices in the average U.S. household today and that number is continuing to rise,” said Jason Fujita, Vice President – Consumer Sales and Marketing. “All of these bandwidth-hungry devices are pulling on the same broadband connection. With Hawaiian Telcom’s Fiber 1 Gig, you can operate all of your connected devices simultaneously without interruption.”

Last year Hawaiian Telcom announced that it was awarded approximately $26 million in CAF Phase II support to deploy a minimum of 10 megabits per second downstream and 1 megabits per second upstream by the year 2020 to more than 11,000 unserved and underserved locations.

Click to check available services in your area.

Click to check available services in your area.

Since 2015, with CAF Phase I support of approximately $1.4 million, Hawaiian Telcom successfully deployed High-Speed Internet to more than 1,800 locations on Hawaiʻi Island. These locations are within areas that include Ainaloa, Aliʻi Kane, Fern Acres, Fern Forest, Glenwood, Hawaiian Acres, Kaiwiki and Miloliʻi. Interested residents should visit hawaiiantel.com/Internet and key in their address to learn which services and speed tiers are available or call Hawaiian Telcom’s consumer sales center at (808) 643-3456.

The FCC created CAF in 2011 by reforming its Universal Service Fund (USF), which consumers contribute to as a Federal Universal Service fee on their monthly telephone and wireless bills, in an effort to accelerate broadband deployment to the approximately 23 million Americans in rural populations that lack access.

Commentary – Lack of Redundancy Caused Inconvenience

Hawaiian Telcom’s main fiber-optic trunk cable for West Hawaii was damaged three times over the past year (twice in the same week). These outages were a major  inconvenience for anyone making a purchase or trying to make a phone call. In addition, residents living from Waikoloa to Pahala were not able to call 911 to report any emergencies.

The lack of redundancy is the culprit of these outages. Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Hawaiian Telcom have a fiber-optic cables going from Kawaihae to the Kona area. Oceanic’s fiber traverses along Queen Kaahumanu Highway and Hawaiian Telcom’s  goes along Highway 190.

However, these fiber-optic cables end in the Pahala area and don’t circle the island. So, a simple tree limb can knock out service to a large part of our island.

The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs estimates it will cost 6 million  dollars to extend the fiber-optic cable between Volcano and Pahala, which will eliminate this dead zone and create a true fiber-optic ring around the Big Island. This added redundancy will help minimize these recent outages in the future.

I hope the County of Hawaii, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawaiian Telcom and the Federal government can work together to help resolve this issue, as our economic well being and public safety is at stake if this not resolved soon.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Hawaiian Telcom Progress Hindered by Vandalism – Fiber Cables Deliberately Cut

Hawaiian Telcom Progress Hindered by Vandalism, Less than 200 Out of Service Hawaiian Telcom continues to make progress in restoring services to Big Island customers.

telcom1Less than 200 customers are out of service, primarily in Nanawale where crews have now begun to repair damaged cables.

Hawaiian Telcom crews worked over the Labor Day weekend but their progress was hindered by vandalism in Kapoho. Hawaiian Telcom crews discovered fiber cables that had been deliberately cut in several places. Copper theft is suspected and a police report has been filed. Theft of copper is a Class C felony in Hawaii punishable by five years in prison. Hawaiian Telcom urges the public to report suspicious activity to police at 911 or by calling Hawaiian Telcom security at 643-7111.

Hawaiian Telcom is continuing to provide free Wi-Fi service at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Activity Center and the Pahoa Community Center. Hours of operation at both locations are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, consumers should bring their own wireless devices, such as laptop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Hawaiian Telcom thanks customers for their patience and understanding as crews continue to work hard on restoring all services as quickly as possible.

Hawaiian Telcom Introduces Enhanced Internet Speeds

Fueled by its expanding fiber network, Hawaiian Telcom has introduced Hawaii’s fastest internet, featuring speeds of up to 500 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload.

Hawaii TelcomBeginning 2 March, O’ahu consumers will be able to sign up for broadband speed tiers of 100, 300 and 500 Mbps, with higher speeds available for businesses. Hawaiian Telcom internet packages come with a wireless networking gateway, comprehensive internet security software and access to local 24/7 technical support.

Hawaiian Telcom president and CEO, Eric K. Yeaman said the company has invested USD 125 million in its new fiber network and systems and plans to expand network reach in the future.

Union Charge Against Hawaiian Telcom Dismissed

Hawaiian Telcom Holdco Inc. said Tuesday that the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, has dismissed a charge brought by IBEW Local Union 1357. In its charge, the union had complained of unfair labor practices while implementing Final Offer employment terms by the company’s unit Hawaiian Telcom Inc.

The NLRB recently communicated its determination that collective bargaining negotiations did reach an impasse and that the company appropriately imposed the terms of employment. As a result of the dismissal, the terms of employment will remain in effect for the company’s union-represented employees.

Informal discussions between the company and union are ongoing regarding the possibility of entering into a collective bargaining agreement in the future, the company said.

Hawaiian Telcom to Implement its Last, Best and Final Offer to IBEW Local Union 1357

Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc. announced today that with collective bargaining between the Company and IBEW Local 1357 (the “Union”) having reached an impasse, the Company has informed the Union that the terms of the Company’s Last, Best and Final Offer will be implemented effective December 1, 2011.

Company and Union representatives began formal negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) on August 15. In mid-September, a federal labor mediator was also engaged to help facilitate negotiations. The Company engaged in good faith bargaining throughout, but once meaningful progress could not be made, a Last, Best and Final Offer was presented to Union leadership in early October.

The Union rejected the Company’s Offer, and on November 10 and 11 held a 2-day work stoppage while delivering a set of CBA proposals to the Company that included:

– artificial acceleration of Union members’ accrual and vesting of pension benefits to minimums of 55 years old/25 years of service, regardless of actual age and service; immediate cost to Company: over $100 million;

– opportunity for each Union employee to purchase a personal computer reimbursed by the Company up to $2000; cost to Company: up to $1.4 million;

– expanded dental coverage to include cosmetic procedures and orthodontics: cost to Company: unknown;

– employee healthcare contribution of less than two (2) percent; and

– reduced sick leave for 2012, then gradually increased sick leave every year starting in 2013, until returning to the current levels of 26 weeks of fully paid sick leave per year plus the next 26 weeks at 58% pay.

Union leadership’s recent demands, work stoppage, and threats toward employees who elected to work during the work stoppage indicate that the period of good faith bargaining has passed.

The rules and processes governing collective bargaining provide a mechanism for parties to move forward when a compromise agreement is clearly not possible and negotiations reach an impasse. Hawaiian Telcom is proceeding according to those processes by implementing its Last, Best and Final Offer effective December 1, 2011.

The terms of the Company’s Offer – 1% annual compounded wage increase for 3 years, $500 bonus annually for 3 years, up to 8 weeks of sick leave, healthcare at 10% employee contribution, and enhanced 401(k) match while freezing pension at current values – reasonably consider the compensation and benefits packages of industry peers, the highly competitive telecommunications industry, and current economic realities. By implementing the Last, Best and Final Offer at this time, Hawaiian Telcom is acting with the best interests of customers, all employees, and the Company’s future in mind.

Forward-Looking Statements

In addition to historical information, this release includes certain statements and predictions that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In particular, any statement, projection or estimate that includes or references the words “believes”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “expects”, or any similar expression falls within the safe harbor of forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those indicated or suggested by any such forward-looking statement for a variety of reasons. More information on potential risks and uncertainties is available in recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Hawaiian Telcom’s 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Form 10-Q filed November 14, 2011. The information contained in this release is as of November 21, 2011. It is anticipated that subsequent events and developments may cause estimates to change.

About Hawaiian Telcom

Hawaiian Telcom Holdco, Inc., headquartered in Honolulu, is Hawaii’s leading provider of integrated communications solutions for business and residential customers. With roots in Hawaii beginning in 1883, the Company offers a full range of services including voice, video, Internet, data, wireless, and advanced communication and network services supported by the reach and reliability of its network and Hawaii’s only 24/7 state-of-the-art network operations center. With employees statewide sharing a commitment to innovation and a passion for delivering superior service, Hawaiian Telcom provides an Always OnSM customer experience. For more information, visit www.hawaiiantel.com

Hawaiian Telcom’s Financial Advisors $2,527.38 Per Hour Work Draws Interest from Justice Department

telcom1

The Justice Department is questioning why Lazard Freres & Co. is being paid $2,527.38 per hour for its work in Hawaiian Telcom Communications Inc.’s bankruptcy case.

For 237.4 hours of work between April 1 and June 30, the investment bank submitted a bill for $600,000, an amount the U.S. Trustee says “far exceeds” rates charged by other professionals working on the phone company’s Chapter 11 case…

Full article here: Fees Draw U.S. Trustee’s Ire In Hawaiian Telcom

Mobile in Hawaii… Still Far Behind

I was one of those people that just hated cell phones and thought I would never carry one myself.  Now I couldn’t live without them.

Its amazing how many people in Hawaii still don’t have a cell phone… less yet just go completely wireless.  I know some people that still screen calls through answering machines because they don’t have caller ID (something all cell phones typically have) But it is fun listening to the excuses as to why they are screening their calls and who they don’t want to hear from.

Here’s an interesting graph that shows percentages across the country of households and adults that are ONLY use cell serviece (Referred to in the graph as Mobile Phone Service):

mobile-use

I gave up my land line about six months before I moved back to the Big Island.  With the problems I had with Hawaiian Telcom, I would never go back to them again.

With the financial trouble that HT is having now, I can only see more and more people switching to mobile phones.

My hardest decision will be… at what age do I allow my son to have a cell phone?

Can you hear me now?