Cincinnati Bell says Hawaiian Telcom deal won't disrupt submarine cable operations

Hawaii
Cincinnati Bell says the Hawaiian Telcom submarine cables will be overseen by technicians located in Hawaii.

Cincinnati Bell, which is in the process of purchasing Hawaiian Telcom, says that the existing submarine cables in Hawaii will not be affected when it completes its acquisition next year.

This is in response to a filing made by Aaron Stene, who cited concerns over the age of the two cables Hawaiian Telcom operates. Hawaiian Telcom, through its operating subsidiaries, owns the Hawaii Interisland Cable System (HICS) and co-owns with Level 3 Communications the Hawaiian Interisland Fiber Network (HIFN).

One of Stene’s main concerns is the condition of the cables in Hawaii and how the new company will support and upgrade them to ensure service to the islands and other locations will continue without disruption.

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“These fiber-optic cables do not support modern standards, which has resulted in Hawaiian Telcom spending money on costly upgrades,” Stene said in an FCC filing (PDF) “The ages of these cables also could mean more outages and overall unreliability.”

Stene added that “these issues should be brought up as this merger approval process proceeds.”

In a response to Stene’s filing, Cincinnati Bell countered that the Hawaiian Telcom submarine cables will be overseen by technicians located in Hawaii.

“Hawaiian Telcom, including with respect to its submarine cable operations, will continue to be locally managed,” Cincinnati Bel said in its FCC filing (PDF). “In short, the proposed Transaction does not currently involve any specific plan to change Hawaiian Telecom’s management of its submarine cable operations.”

Further, Cincinnati Bell said that while traditional cable systems typically have 25 run rates, these systems can often run past their projected lifespans and that Hawaiian Telcom continues to make necessary network upgrades to support future broadband requirements.

“Hawaiian Telcom does not anticipate capacity issues on its network as advances in telecommunications transport technology allows Hawaiian Telcom to upgrade the fiber electronics on the system to meet demand even in the unlikely event that demand materially exceeds projections,” Cincinnati Bell said.

Cincinnati Bell maintains that since the lone filing made by Stene does not relate to issues that are specific to the deal and its “merger review is limited to consideration of merger-specific effects,” the FCC should find that the acquisition satisfies the regulator’s public interest test.