Telecom Provider Stops Service

Sandwich Isles Communications (SIC) says that phone and internet services will stop by the end of the first week of June, despite orders from Governor Josh Green and the state Public Utilities Commission.

SIC had been the exclusive supplier of telecommunications for Hawaiian Home Lands for nearly 30 years, explained Albert Hee, founder and former president of SIC. He calls the ceasing of service “strictly a financial decision.”

“We will not be serving beyond the end of this week,” Hee told the Dispatch. On June 5, SIC customers received notice that as of June 8, all phone and internet service would be disconnected.

SIC customers, which include Molokai businesses and non-homestead residents as well, were alarmed when they first received a letter on May 30 saying that SIC service would stop on June 1. Following the May 30 letter, Gov. Green signed an emergency proclamation to avoid loss of telecommunication services. Likewise, the Public Utilities Commission issued a notice of violation to SIC and ordered SIC not to terminate service to customers.

In response, Hee explained he continued service for another week in the hopes that the government could step in to help.

Hee said that he would “love to” continue service, but simply that “I don’t have any money.”

“SIC ran out of money,” said Hee. “This is a DHHL problem.”

After DHHL recently encouraged residents to switch from SIC, Hee said revenue dropped below operational levels.

Following concerns regarding SIC internet service in late May, DHHL issued a statement on May 24 encouraging beneficiaries to switch to Hawaiian Telcom or Spectrum.

“For everyone who gets their phone or internet service from SIC, our message is simple: it’s time to switch providers. Don’t delay. SIC has said they are going to end their service to customers,” explained a spokesperson for DHHL.

“SIC is a private company with a troubled history,” explains a previous DHHL letter to beneficiaries from May 17. “SIC is required to provide reliable services and was paid by DHHL to do so.”

The “troubled history” of SIC includes a 2016 indictment against Hee for illegal use of company funds for personal use, which carried with it a 46-month prison sentence.

For Molokai homesteaders and SIC customers, the multiple letters and roving deadlines have been difficult to navigate. Molokai residents can visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/broadband for the latest updates.


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