Connect Kākou, a State of Hawaiʻi initiative to ensure that communities across Hawaiʻi have reliable and affordable access to high-speed internet officially launched today.
Led by Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke, the initiative was made possible through a partnership with the Hawaiʻi Broadband and Digital Equity Office, University of Hawaiʻi, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and several other state and county agencies.
“Connect Kākou conveys that this initiative is about everyone, not just the select few,” said Lt. Gov. Luke. “A reliable internet connection is essential to access quality healthcare, education, government, career opportunities, and more, yet nearly one in 10 households in Hawaiʻi does not have internet access.”
Hawaiʻi has already 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, Hawaiʻi 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.
To this end, the group is soliciting public feedback. Public information sessions are being held and scheduled, and the state is seeking feedback and commentary from the communities to be served. Public comment for Hawaiʻi’s Initial Proposal will be accepted until Dec. 10, 2023. 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 Kaʻala Souza, digital equity consultant. “Connect Kākou 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 and initiative updates. Community members are encouraged to register here to attend information sessions and submit public comments on the initial proposal here.