Thursday, February 20, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Tuesday, December 06, 2016
FCC Order: Sandwich Isles $76M Fines, Repayments
By News Release @ 1:39 PM :: 3877 Views :: DHHL, Ethics


Commission Concludes the Company Obtained Improper Reimbursements from the Universal Service Fund High-Cost Program

News Release from Federal Communications Commission

WASHINGTON, December 5, 2016 – The Federal Communications Commission today voted to take multiple actions against Sandwich Isles Communications, which provides phone and broadband service to customers on Hawaiian Home Lands, for violations and apparent violations related to Universal Service Fund (USF) support. As a result, the company will be required to repay over $27 million in improper payments of universal service support. In addition, following an investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, the Commission has proposed more than $49 million in fines against the company for apparent violations of rules relating to the high-cost program.

“Accounting and accountability go hand in hand,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc. “We take our duty seriously to ensure that providers submit true and accurate data to support their requests for federal funds. Any company that fails to do so will be held accountable.”

Sandwich Isles has ongoing obligations to its customers, under both the Communications Act and Commission rules, to continue to provide interstate telecommunications services and may not discontinue service without the Commission’s express authorization.

The first order issued by the FCC requires Sandwich Isles to refund $27,270,390 in improper payments of universal service support. This order concludes that the company violated the Commission’s high-cost program rules. The USF high-cost program is designed to ensure that consumers in rural and other high-cost areas have access to modern communications networks. The order acts on the findings from a Universal Service Administrative Company investigation.

Second, following an investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau’s Universal Service Fund Strike Force, the Commission has announced a proposed fine of $49,598,448 on Sandwich Isles, its parent company Waimana Enterprises, and its former controlling owner Albert Hee for apparent violations impacting the high-cost program. Sandwich Isles is charged with violating the Commission’s accounting rules and methods, and submitting and certifying inaccurate data used to obtain millions of dollars in improper high-cost support payments. This is the Commission’s first enforcement action in the high-cost program.

In addition, the Commission modified a previous agency ruling regarding payments made by Sandwich Isles for use of a submarine cable built and operated by its own corporate affiliate, Paniolo LLC. This order directs the National Exchange Carrier Association to no longer allow the company’s inclusion of excessive expenses in its revenue requirement.

A proposed fine, formally called a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, details the Commission’s allegations of unlawful conduct and proposes a monetary forfeiture for such conduct. The description of today’s action and the apparent violations are allegations, and the parties will have a chance to respond before any final action is taken. Members of the public who have information related to this matter may provide it at

The Commission adopted the Order (FCC 16-167) on December 5, 2016. Commissioners Clyburn and Pai issuing a joint statement; Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part.

The Commission adopted the Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 16-166) on December 5, 2016. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part.

The Commission adopted the Notice of Apparent Liability (FCC 16-165) on December 5, 2016. Commissioner O’Rielly approving in part and concurring in part.

The Order is available here: FCC-16-167A1.pdf

The Memorandum Opinion and Order is available here: FCC-16-166A1.pdf

The Notice of Apparent Liability is available here: FCC-16-165A1.pdf


KHON: Hawaii communications company ordered to refund millions, faces even more in fines

SA: Sandwich Isles Communications faces $76M penalty

2014: Al Hee Indicted on Exact 2nd Anniversary of Dan Inouye’s Death


TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

Judgepedia Hawaii

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii