Expanding Internet Options for Hawaiian Settlers | Hawaii News

HONOLULU (AP) — Residents of Hawaiian lands may soon have more options for connecting to the internet.

That’s because the State Department of Hawaiian Lands lifted a decades-old exclusivity clause that allowed only one Internet service provider option for Hawaiian settlers.

Hawaii Public Radio reported that the clause made Sandwich Isles Communications the sole telecommunications provider for Hawaiian lands since 1995.

It’s a step toward increasing digital equity for Native Hawaiians, said department deputy director Tyler Iokepa Gomes.

The Homesteaders had no other internet option, even after the Sandwich Islands ran into legal and financial problems in 2015 and were unable to provide needed service upgrades.

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The department will receive at least $90 million in federal funds to provide high-speed Internet access to farmers.

Homeland residents can continue to stay with the Sandwich Islands or choose from other providers, including Hawaiian Telcom or Spectrum.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 was intended to provide economic self-sufficiency to Hawaiians by allowing them to use land for a living. Those with at least 50% Hawaiian blood can apply for a 99-year lease for $1 per year.

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