HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved two additional applications submitted by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) for unassigned spectrum in response to a rural tribal priority window.

In October of 2020, the FCC approved three initial applications submitted by DHHL. The licenses are among a total of 205 granted by the FCC in an effort to connect rural tribal communities across the country, bridging the connectivity divide.

Download the free KHON2 app for iOS or Android to stay informed on the latest news

According to DHHL, receipt of the licenses gives the department permission to utilize a portion of the 2.5 GHz band to deliver wireless broadband to rural homestead communities on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties.

“The pandemic has demonstrated to us all the importance of broadband connectivity,” said DHHL Deputy to the Chair Tyler Iokepa Gomes. “Now that we have the final approval on these licenses, we will be working to get the new wireless systems designed and constructed within the program’s timeframe. We are fortunate to also have access to federal funds that our congressional delegation secured through the CARES Act that will help improve overall access to broadband and connectivity.”

DHHL says it now has two years from the date the licenses were granted to submit evidence that the department is providing service coverage to 50 percent of the population in the license areas.

Five years after the license is granted, DHHL must show they are providing service coverage to 80 percent of the population.