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University of Hawaiʻi (UH) and Ocean Networks, Inc. (ONI) announced a $120 million, public-private partnership to construct a submarine optical fiber cable system that will connect the Hawaiian Islands and improve and expand high-speed broadband internet throughout the state. The project, the Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link (HIFL), 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.

Hawaiian Islands Fiber Link (HIFL) announced by UH and Ocean Networks will be constructed, connecting the Hawaiian Islands, improving connectivity and expanding high-speed broadband throughout the State, a top priority of Gov. Josh Green's Administration.

“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,” said Gov. Green, M.D.. “The resulting network will be open to all carriers and sufficiently 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.”

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 Kalou.

“This is just one part of our plan to guarantee the state’s long-term internet connectivity,” said LG Luke. “Connect Kaku 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.”

HIFL will be a carrier-neutral, open-access system with landing sites on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi and Molokaʻi (graphic above) 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.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with Ocean Networks, Inc.,” said Garret Yoshimi, UH Vice President for Information Technology and CIO. “The Ocean Networks team has significant industry experience, specifically working here in Hawaiʻi. It’s an honor for UH to play an important role in connecting Hawaiʻi to the future.”

“We are delighted to collaborate with the UH and proud that ONI has been selected to build and operate the new HIFL submarine cable system,” said Cliff Miyake, VP Business Development of Ocean Networks, Inc. “The HIFL system will provide critical improvement to the broadband infrastructure for the State of Hawaiʻi.”

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