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Molokai Getting WiFi Hotspots

Kalaupapa settlement now has 10 free public WiFi hotspots, with locations also coming to Kaunakakai, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) has announced. The hotspots will provide one hours of free service per day per device, provided by Spectrum. The Molokai hotspots are among at least 1,000 hotspots that were required as part of the agreement of transfer of Oceanic Time Warner Cable to Charter Communications, known as Spectrum.

The Kalaupapa WiFi hotspots are part of the first wave of public hotspots now active or underway on Molokai, Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Kaunakakai’s hotspots are scheduled for installation this fall, according to the DCCA, though they did not say where they will be located or how many are planned.

“In recognition of the importance of public internet access for Hawaii residents, we have made it a priority to expand connectivity across the state—especially into our rural and underserved communities. It is our hope that this initiative will improve the quality of life for our residents and the general public,” said Governor David Y. Ige, in a press release last week.

The changeover from Oceanic to Spectrum took place in May 2016, and under the DCCA decision, Spectrum is required to provide the hotspots within four years of the transfer. According to the DCCA, 100 of the 1000 hotspots must be in pubic parks, civic centers and other open community areas and gathering places.

Free public WiFi hotspots are beneficial to increase access to public health, education, and other online services for those who don’t have internet access at home, live in unserved areas, or have other economic barriers to internet access, the DCCA stated. In addition, public hotspots can benefit residents by providing internet without affecting monthly data quotas for cell phones and other devices, according to the department.

“We are committed to enhancing access to free public WiFi hotspots across the state,” added Catherine Awakuni Colón, DCCA director. “In addition to the current rollout, we also negotiated a Public WiFi Partnership program to be deployed in the coming years as a condition of the Hawaiian Telcom-Cincinnati Bell transfer.”

Addresses and exact mapped locations of the state designated and active hotspots can be viewed at cca.hawaii.gov/broadband/dcca-designated-wifi-hotspots/.


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