Saturday, Dec. 02, 2023|
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Put the lines
One lesson we can take into the future that is highlighted by the recent fires in our state (and elsewhere) is the wisdom of underground utilities, including all electrified lines.
Electrical poles are expensive and expose the wires to the weather, fires, pests, falling limbs of trees, vehicle crashes, etc., all of which can cause downed lines and stoppages in service.
They are also unsightly, and aside from the benefit they offer to illegal posters of sales and events and dogs with full bladders, they should be recognized as out of step with smart, safe planning practices.
For one thing, underground utility wires are housed in strong pipes and are therefore just not exposed to most of the things that damage them otherwise. With poles, any large tree limb or vehicle crash can stop service for hours and often drops live wires to the ground, where they can harm living things and start fires.
Enough with electrical poles!
Carl F. Oguss
Hawaiian Telcom has received hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars from the federal government since the year 2000 to bring fiber optic service to rural areas of the Big Island.
The only West Hawaii communities that don’t currently have fiber are Kealakekua, Holualoa and Hawaiian Home Lands. Why?
The infrastructure in Kealakekua and Holualoa is so antiquated it is barely functional. As for the Hawaiian Home Lands, show some respect for the indigenous people. Hawaiian Telcom will run fiber in Hokulia to empty lots, as well as into town using poles paid for by local residents. Neither of these areas are remotely rural and already have good internet. Who oversees how our hard-earned tax dollars are spent?
In some places, Hawaiian Electric has the equipment to deliver internet but is discouraged from doing so. Wouldn’t want any competition, the consumer might benefit. Only three companies use all the poles in Hawaii.
In the 40-plus years I have lived in Kealakekua, no one from Hawaiian Electric or Hawaiian Telcom has ever come out to inspect the poles and equipment, much less do maintenance. My guess is they never will unless a pole falls or a transformer explodes.
Hawaiian Telcom doesn’t want to bring fiber to Kealakekua and Holualoa because they have failed to maintain the poles, making access difficult and more expensive. But they seem to have no trouble billing for “high speed internet” they don’t supply.
Big corporations line their pockets at the taxpayer’s expense — corporations which buy each other out or declare bankruptcy and then reappear as a new company.
Reliable internet is essential to public safety. An inalienable right, just like free speech. If we don’t stand up for our rights, the big corporations laugh — all the way to the bank.
I implore the people of this island to file complaints with the FCC, online or by phone. Perhaps then we will get what we deserve. Hawaiian Telcom certainly won’t do the right thing on their own.
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