The University of Hawaiʻi (UH) and Ocean Networks, Inc. (ONI) have made a $120M public-private partnership to construct a submarine optical fiber cable system that will connect the Hawaiian Islands.
The project, which aims to improve and expand high-speed broadband internet throughout the state, is called the Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link (HIFL) and is a key component of Connect Kākou, the state’s broadband initiative, a top priority of the Governor Josh Green administration.
Under the direction of Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke, Connect Kākou will ensure that people from all walks of life have reliable and affordable access to high-speed internet.
ONI is responsible for the supply, construction, operations and maintenance of the inter-island cable system. Partial funding will be provided through a federal grant, and the remaining funds will be secured by ONI through private equity and secured debt.
When it goes online, HIFL will be able to process a high volume of data with minimal delay and will be the inter-island backbone of Connect Kākou.
HIFL will be a carrier-neutral, open-access system with landing sites on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi (graphic below) that will improve Hawaiʻi inter-island and regional connectivity.
The system will have 24 fiber pairs with a design life of 25 years and is expected to be ready for service in late 2026. The project is being overseen by the UH System Office for Information Technology with support from the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaiʻi.
Gov. Green, M.D., said; “This inter-island cable system will leverage the once-in-a-generation federal investment for technological infrastructure and position our state for long-term economic growth.
“The resulting network will be open to all carriers and sufficiently robust to support all manner of telecommunications carrier and enterprise traffic, including anticipated future high-capacity demands supporting healthcare, education, research, public service, commerce, and government uses.”
LG Luke said; “This is just one part of our plan to guarantee the state’s long-term internet connectivity. Connect Kākou has over $500 million in federal grants, state funds, and private matching funds available as we work towards connecting the unconnected and make sure everyone has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet.”