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State Launches Broadband Initiative As Critical Component Of Economic Development Strategy

Press Release

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Governor Neil Abercrombie today launched a major economic development initiative to provide statewide access to affordable ultra high-speed Internet by 2018. The "Hawai'i Broadband Initiative" is essential to build a vibrant and sustainable economy and workforce in Hawai'i and improve the quality of life for residents.

The target connection speed is 1 gigabit per second, which is 200 times faster than today's typical household connection speeds. Work is already underway for Hawai'i to be the first state in the nation with 1 gigabit per second broadband connectivity at every public school, every public library, and every public university and college campus by using about $33.6 million of federal monies received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

"For our remote island state, the ability of broadband technology to connect individuals, businesses and institutions between our islands and to the rest of the world will be transformative," said Governor Abercrombie. "We will build the infrastructure that will provide everyone with access to ultra high-speed Internet at prices they can afford. The Hawai'i Broadband Initiative will help ensure that our state is a global leader and continues to advance in areas like education and healthcare."

Some of the benefits of the ultra high-speed Internet include:

* Improving our public schools by allowing students and teachers to collaborate wherever they are in the state and the world.

* Helping to achieve our energy goals by protecting the reliability of our electrical grid and utilizing more renewable resources.

* Improving medical services by developing an integrated health information network that can securely exchange electronic health records, a vital component in helping to contain rising healthcare costs and ensure better patient outcomes.

* Increasing public employees' capacity and allowing greater access to government services by the public.

The Hawai'i Broadband Initiative has four goals:

1. Ensure ubiquitous access to world-class gigabit-per-second broadband service at affordable prices throughout Hawai'i.
2. Increase the use of ultra high-speed broadband services and applications for economic development, healthcare, education, public safety, governmental efficiency and civic engagement.
3. Reduce Hawai'i's barriers to global participation and ensure equitable access for all our islands, including the most remote areas of the state.
4. Develop and implement a modern regulatory and permitting environment that supports and advances investment in broadband infrastructure and public services.

The Hawai'i Broadband Initiative is being led by the Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) and is supported by the state's Chief Information Officer, and the University of Hawai'i.

DBEDT is creating financial incentives to attract investment from providers and forging public-private partnerships that will allow greater access to broadband services. DCCA is working with federal, state and county agencies, broadband providers and private stakeholders to create and implement a plan to achieve the goals of the Hawai'i Broadband Initiative and is working with the Legislature to identify and address statutory barriers.

"Government has a large role to play in this initiative, but it is not a government-centric effort," said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. "We must approach this initiative with a shared sense of purpose and urgency with strong leadership from both the public and private sectors. Government, businesses and consumers will work together to establish faster and more powerful networks."

Today's announcement from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Center for Microbial Oceanography: Research and Education (C-MORE) building, which was accessible via video conferencing from three locations across the state, included representatives from an array of industries -- education, transportation, energy, healthcare, emergency preparedness telecommunications and business.

Additional Information about the HI Broadband Initiative

Governor Neil Abercrombie today issued an Executive Memorandum on the Hawai'i Broadband Initiative and directed DCCA and DBEDT to lead the effort. Read the memo here:

The Governor also outlined the vision, purpose, goals and key actions behind the Hawai'i Broadband Initiative. Click here to learn more:

And finally, Australia is launching its own National Broadband Network. Watch this short video to learn more on their effort:

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