II. SIC Has Publicly Stated that the Dispute with HT will Affect Services
Beginning on or about September 11, 2021, SIC began publicly stating that because of its dispute with Hawaiian Tel (HT), “phone, internet and/or video services” to DHHL and DHHL’s beneficiaries and lessees would be impacted. These statements appear on the SIC website at www.sandwichisles.com…. The actions of SIC were a source of great concern, because it appeared that SIC was incapable of providing reasonable assurances that it would be willing and able to continue providing reliable, uninterrupted telecommunications services.
As a result of SIC’s actions, DHHL and its Commissioners have received numerous “communications from beneficiaries and lessees concerned about the possibility that SIC will cease to provide services due to its dispute with HT.” …. The uncertainty created by SIC’s intransigence is untenable and unreasonable. Telecommunications services are essential and critical, particularly in remote locations. The essential nature of these services has been amplified by our community’s recent experience with the COVID-19 pandemic. “[T]elephone, internet and other broadband services are critical for the delivery of education, health, financial and other services necessary to the well-being of DHHL’s beneficiary population.” ….
DHHL believes that it “is imperative that SIC cooperate with HT and other carriers to ensure that there is no disruption in services and to facilitate reasonable shared access to critical infrastructure.” … Given SIC’s actions, it appears that such cooperation will not occur absent further Court action. Moreover, absent further Court action it appears likely that the integrity and value of the Paniolo Network will be impaired.
SIC appears to believe that its refusal to cooperate is justified because it claims to be the “exclusive” provider of broadband telecommunications services on the Home Lands. SIC’s argument is predicated on its interest under a license that was issued on May 9, 1995 (“License 372”). In 2017, however, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued an order determining that all claims of exclusivity were preempted by Federal law and therefore unenforceable. ….
III. Court Action is Required to Address What the Trustee has Identified as Clear and Present Danger
DHHL’s concerns about SIC’s actions are not unique. In fact, the Trustee in this action has stated that SIC’s actions “represent a clear and present danger to the operations, safety and security of the Paniolo Cable Network.” …
Given the foregoing, HT’s request for relief is imminently reasonable. DHHL, in particular, supports HT’s request to require SIC to:
1. provide information about the identity of all users of the Paniolo Network, including Critical Services Users. …;
2. identify 911 Circuits and circuits designated as Telecommunication Service Priority. …;
3. provide reasonable assurances that they will not take unilateral action to terminate Critical Services without reasonable notice. Id. …;
4. provide documentation of their conduit occupancy requirements on the Paniolo Network. ….