By Jay Fidell
Broadband is Hawaii’s gateway to the universe, and don’t forget it.
Used to be in the late 1990s that we had among the fastest speeds in the world, but that slipped in the Lingle administration and is no longer the case.
Fact is that broadband doesn’t come down from heaven like cargo cult, we have to work for it, and we have to work to keep up with the speeds or we fall behind.
Speed costs. Not only the cost of fiber, which Oceanic Time Warner and Hawaiian Telcom have been putting in over the past few years, but also hardware, expensive black boxes that connect to the fiber.
We have some of the infrastructure, but we need to put in more, and that means more money. If we’re going to keep up, someone has to take the plunge and make the investment. It’s not enough to let the market creep up – we have to incentivize what we need.
Who will step up – the state, the carriers, the people, new investors, who?
If our kids and students are to have the educational opportunities and prospects they deserve, we need to get the speed. That includes the neighbor islands, and every corner of the state.
If our businesses and startups are to have the leverage they need to complete in a global 21st century, we need to get the speed.
In short, we need to get the speed everywhere in Hawaii and we need to get it at rates that are reasonable, especially in these difficult times. It means everything to the future.
Right now most people and businesses have 5-10 megabits (ten million bits) per second and some have as much as 50 megabits, but what we really need is more like a gigabit (a billion bits) per second, ultra high speed broadband 100 or 200 times faster.
No time to waste, but who is doing what to move us there. Well, High Tech Development Corporation (HTDC) is doing something and ThinkTech is working with it to develop public service announcements to let the public know about this, and about how important it is that we work together for greater speeds.
Those PSAs will play on network and community TV through the summer. Hope you get to see some of them and that they raise your awareness about broadband.
What’s more, ThinkTech and the Hawaii Venture Capital Association are presenting a luncheon panel program about broadband at the Plaza Club later this month – on Thursday, May 24th – featuring a number of qualified and enthusiastic speakers on the subject.
We’ll try to show you how important speed it and what it can do for the state. We’ll also try to show you where we are in developing the speed we need and what more we can do to incentivize the investment that can bring it to everyone here at reasonable prices.
We can’t afford to do less. Come see Broadband in Hawaii on May 24th and raise your understanding about Hawaii’s connectivity, and its future. Sign up on hvca.org. See you there.