Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024|
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The state has launched a new initiative to ensure that communities across Hawaii have reliable and affordable access to high-speed internet.
Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke on Thursday announced Connect Kakou, a partnership with the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office, University of Hawaii, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and several other state and county agencies.
“Connect Kakou conveys that this initiative is about everyone, not just the select few,” Luke said in a statement. “A reliable internet connection is essential to access quality health care, education, government, career opportunities and more, yet nearly 1 in 10 households in Hawaii does not have internet access.”
Hawaii already has received an initial investment of $320 million in federal funding and anticipates additional funding over the next five years to build critical infrastructure and increase digital literacy and equity.
In June, the state was awarded more than $149 million under an initiative financed by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The program aims to meet people where they are, physically and at their level of digital readiness.
Public information sessions about Connect Kakou are being held and scheduled, and the state is seeking feedback from the communities to be served.
Public comments about state’s initial Connect Kakou proposal will be accepted until Dec. 10. Then, the next step in the process will be to submit the complete initial proposal to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration by the end of 2024.
“Our unique geography contributed to our state’s high percentage of residents without internet,” said Ka‘ala Souza, digital equity consultant. “Connect Kakou is designed to ensure that no one is left behind and our community has the tools to achieve digital literacy.”
Visit ConnectKakou.org for a list of upcoming information sessions, initiative updates and more.
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