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By News Release @ 10:01 PM :: 2081 Views :: DHHL, Ethics

GOVERNOR GREEN SIGNS EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION TO AVOID LOSS OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS

News Release from Office of the Governor, May 31, 2024

HONOLULU — Governor Josh Green, M.D., today signed an Emergency Proclamation to avoid loss of telecommunications services for many Hawaiian Home Lands households across the state.

On May 30, 2024, Sandwich Isle Communications (PIC), a private company that provides phone and internet services to many customers on Hawaiian Home Lands, announced through an email to customers that services would cease on Saturday, June 1, 2024.

The termination of services could leave approximately 1,500 households and several business, schools, and other institutions on Hawaiian Home Lands without phone and/or internet services.

“We must ensure that our communities remain connected to critical services, including emergency medical, police and fire services” stated Governor Green. “Providers carry a responsibility to maintain services for their customers.”

“It is unacceptable that Sandwich Isles Communications is planning to disconnect the services that its customers depend on with so little notice,” said Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. “We strongly urge Sandwich Isles Communications to transition Hawaiian Home Lands lessees to alternate service providers in an orderly and responsible process.”

The Emergency Proclamation directs all state agencies to assist in the effort keep continuity of service and orders telecommunication providers to prevent any disruption or interruption of telecommunication and broad and services.

A copy of the executed EP can be found here.

UPDATE: PUC Orders Criminal Hee to Maintain Phone Service

  *   *   *   *   *

DHHL RESPONDS TO THREATS TO DISCONNECT PHONE AND INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDED BY SANDWICH ISLES COMMUNICATIONS

DHHL is working to establish interim service and transition lessees to other providers

News Release from DHHL, May 31, 2024

HONOLULU – Up to 1,500 households on Hawaiian Home Lands are facing a sudden loss of phone and/or internet service provided by Sandwich Isles Communications (SIC). SIC, a private company, announced in an email to customers on May 30 that it would end its service just two days later, on June 1. Affected parties are located throughout the state and include many households in remote communities.

“Reliable phone and internet service is a lifeline for our communities. It is unacceptable that Sandwich Isles Communications is planning to disconnect the services that its customers depend on with so little notice,” said Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke. “We strongly urge Sandwich Isles Communications to transition Hawaiian Home Lands lessees to alternate service providers in an orderly and responsible process.”

SIC’s apparent plans to disconnect service violates the company’s contract with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), which requires SIC to provide reliable service. SIC is also required to continue phone and internet service unless it gives regulators at the FCC and the Hawaiʻi PUC advance notice that it is unable to do so – and receives permission to stop services. DHHL is not aware of any such notifications to these agencies – and is working with these agencies to formulate a response. DHHL will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds.

SIC has had multiple opportunities to work with DHHL and alternate service providers to keep services on for its customers. Unfortunately, SIC has chosen its current course of action instead. DHHL is working to ensure minimal disruption to affected beneficiaries. SIC is facing foreclosure by the federal government due to nonpayment of a major loan.

In recent days, DHHL started a public campaign urging beneficiaries who receive service from SIC to immediately switch to another provider to avoid losing service. Residential customers should contact alternative service providers to determine if service is available at their address:

Hawaiian Telcom

Spectrum

SIC Customers outside the service areas for Hawaiian Telcom and Spectrum may wish to consider satellite service providers such as Starlink or Dish.

Additional resources and ongoing updates are available at the department’s Broadband Program webpage at https://dhhl.hawaii.gov/broadband/ including information on:

  • Eligibility for government programs offering free and low-cost residential service
  • Information for affected businesses on Hawaiian Home Lands

An SIC service outage would also affect DHHL’s phone service. To continue providing help to lessees, the department has established an interim call center for lessees at (808) 570-4883. Lessees may also email dhhl.broadband@hawaii.gov for assistance.

# # #

COVERAGE: 

May 29, 2024: DHHL Letter to Lessees

Sandwich Isles Scam History:

 

 

 

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