HONOLULU — Hawaii has released a plan on how it will try to strengthen broadband infrastructure across the state.
The 45-page Hawaii Broadband Strategic Plan 2020 aims to make broadband services available to as much of the state as possible.
The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, in conjunction with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Office of Planning, published the plan, which updates the original Hawaii Broadband Strategic Plan that was released in 2012.
The plan calls on the state to build carrier-neutral cable landing infrastructure on Oahu and neighboring islands to lower the cost barrier for fiberoptic cables, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
The document also suggests seeking both federal and private funding to underwrite cable landing stations. It also calls on support for initiatives that will enable the deployment of small cell and wireless technologies throughout the state.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated demands for the state to improve its broadband infrastructure, as widespread stay-at-home orders have forced many people to rely on the internet at home in order to work.
“Due to the pandemic, there is even greater recognition that Hawaii’s competitiveness in the global digital economy, educational exchange and digital competency is reliant on broadband infrastructure,” state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism Director Mike McCartney said in a statement. “Hawaii’s link to the rest of the world relies on transpacific fiber optic cables. Broadband is how the internet traffic flows throughout the entire state from interisland fiber, terrestrial fiber, wireless services and rural connectivity. This will be fundamental for Hawaii’s economic diversification and expansion.”