|Sandwich Isles Monster is Back|
|Friday, 21 October 2011 09:21|
$400M has been given by USF to a politically connected Hawaiian company, Sandwich Islands Communications, as much as $13,000/year/line. Everyone close to FCC policy the last decade knows the issue. Sandwich Isles is used in academic papers as an example of how distorted the program has been. They only have a few thousand customers, most of whom could have phone service for a very small fraction of what Albert Hee and friends - many politically connected - collect from the government.
Given the issues with the company, giving them a dedicated subsidy is the last thing one would want to do with the USF replacement program. But the State of Hawaii has hired an expensive DC lawyer and demanded special treatment of the “Hawaiian Home Lands,” based on other tribal programs. The filing doesn’t point out that the carrier of the “Hawaiian Home Lands” is Sandwich Islands.
Nor does the filing list how many thousands in campaign contributions went to Senator Inouye, who I’m told is also sending a plea to give them more money.
October 15, 2011
VIA ELECTRONIC FILING
Marlene H. Dortch
SecretaryFederal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.Washington, DC 20554
Re: Permitted Oral Ex Parte Presentation
WC Docket No. 10-90; GN Docket No. 09-51; WC Docket No. 07-135; WC Docket No. 05-337; CC Docket No. 01-92; CC Docket No. 96-45 and WC Docket No. 03-10
Dear Ms. Dortch:
Representatives of the State of Hawaii (“Hawaii”) met with Commission officials on October 12, 2011 to discuss the intercarrier compensation (“ICC”) and universal service fund (“USF”) proceedings, the docket numbers for which are listed above. In separate meetings, the State representatives met with Margaret McCarthy, Policy Advisor for Commissioner Michael J. Copps; Christine Kurth, Policy Director and Wireline Counsel for Commissioner Robert McDowell; Angela Kronenberg, Wireline Legal Advisor for Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn; and Joseph Cavender of the Wireline Competition Bureau. Attending the meetings on behalf of the State were Everett Kaneshige, Deputy Director of the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs; Herbert Marks of Squire Sanders & Dempsey; and the undersigned.
During the meetings, the State representatives emphasized two major points. First, in order to ensure that ongoing broadband development efforts are not curtailed in those portions of the State that are designated as Hawaiian Home Lands (“HHL”), the Commission should adopt a definition of Tribal Lands for purposes of this proceeding that includes the HHLs. Although the Commission has previously included the HHLs in its definition of Tribal Lands for purposes of universal service funding, the Commission, without explanation, omitted the HHLs from its definition of Tribal Lands in its National Broadband Plan.
October 15, 2011
SQUIRE, SANDERS &DEMPSEY (US) LLP
Second, the State representatives explained that the significant broadband development needs of Hawaii extend well beyond the HHLs. To this end, the State representatives expressed concern that many aspects of the Commission’s draft ICC/USF reform plan do not address the unique challenges that exist in attempting to provide broadband in such highly remote and insular areas as Hawaii. The Commission was therefore urged to acknowledge in any order that is adopted in this proceeding that a unique approach is needed in order to bring reliable and affordable high-speed broadband to remote areas of Hawaii. The Commission was further urged to explore in a further notice of proposed rule making the challenges that exist in Hawaii and other highly insular areas and the unique approaches that would be necessary to overcome these challenges.The attached presentation was distributed during the meetings and formed the basis of the discussion. Please contact the undersigned if you have any questions about this filing.
Sincerely, /s/ Bruce A. Olcott
Bruce A. Olcott
Counsel to the State of Hawaii