(Kapolei, Oʻahu) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved three of five applications submitted by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) for unassigned spectrum in response to a Rural Tribal Priority Window.
Receipt of the licenses mean the Department now has permission to utilize a portion of the 2.5 GHz band to deliver wireless broadband to rural homestead communities on Kauaʻi and in Maui County.
“We are pleased that the FCC has granted us these licenses,” said DHHL Deputy to the Chairman Tyler Gomes.” The Department will begin work immediately to procure funding and begin work to build out the infrastructure needed to broadcast wireless broadband across the spectrum.”
DHHL has two years from the date the licenses were granted to submit evidence that the Department is providing service coverage to 50 percent of the population in the license areas. Five years after the license is granted, DHHL must show they are providing service coverage to 80 percent of the population.
The Department submitted its five applications after petitioning the FCC for a waiver in March. Only federally recognized Tribes or Alaska Native Villages could apply for spectrum in the Window.
The petition, co-signed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) and the Hawaiʻi State Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT), detailed the unique trust relationship between the State of Hawaiʻi, DHHL, and native Hawaiians. The waiver affirmed DHHL as the only entity with the legal standing to apply in the Window and implement broadband service on Hawaiian Home Lands.
DHHL completed the applications with the assistance of Edyael Casaperalta, Irene Flannery, and Geoff Blackwell of AMERIND’s Critical Infrastructure division.