Struggling HI Telecom Faces Closure

A Hawaii telecom facing millions in federal fines warned the state it could close and lay off more than 60 employees. Sandwich Isle Communications interim CEO Breanne Kahalewai told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the company signed a letter of intent to sell the company and is negotiating a purchase agreement.

The new owner would be required to retain the employees, but Kahalewai said Sandwich Isle notified the state of a possible closure “out of an abundance of caution.”

The company provides voice and internet service to about 3,600 customers; an FCC spokesman told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser a carrier must have its permission before ending service and no such request has been received from Sandwich Isle Communications.

In December 2016, the FCC required the company to repay $27 million in improper payments of Universal Service Fund support. The Enforcement Bureau also proposed $49 million in fines for apparent violations of rules relating to the high-cost program. Petitions related to the fines remain pending at the Commission.

March 8, 2018


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