Opportunities and Challenges for First-mile Development in Rural Hawaiian Communities

  • Jenifer Sunrise Winter School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Wayne Buente School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
  • Patricia Amaral Buskirk School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Keywords: Hawaiʻi, First Mile, Digital self-determination, Digital Divide

Abstract

The islands of Hawaiʻi are the most geographically remote locations on earth and connect to the global Internet via expensive submarine fiber. While citizens in densely populated areas such as Honolulu have several options for broadband coverage, there are gaps throughout the state. Many of those living in rural areas, including indigenous Hawaiian communities, suffer from a lack of critical infrastructures. For indigenous Hawaiians trying to gain equal access to educational and economic opportunities, health care, and linguistic and cultural preservation, this disparity is particularly troubling. We describe challenges faced by Native Hawaiian communities in developing affordable, high-quality broadband access and describe initiatives, to date, that seek to address them. We suspect that the conventional planning approach to broadband development is incongruent to the unique economic, social and cultural contexts present in Hawaiian rural communities. Our investigation explores the potential for community-initiated broadband projects that will enable indigenous Hawaiians more self-determination in the planning and management of broadband networks and services.

Author Biographies

Jenifer Sunrise Winter, School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Jenifer Sunrise Winter is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communications. She received the AB from Occidental College and the MLIS and Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii (Interdisciplinary Program in Communication and Information Sciences). Her research focuses on communication policy and planning in the context of emerging information and communications technologies (ICTs), including the role of the public in forming technology policy. She teaches courses related to information and communication policies and technologies, emphasizing wireless communication and the Internet in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining the School of Communications, she worked in commercial radio and for the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. She serves as Secretary of the Right to Communicate Group.
Wayne Buente, School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Wayne Buente is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communications. He received his Master’s degree in Information from the School of Information at the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. from the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. His research examines the social aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs). His research interests include dimensions of citizenship and its relation to ICTs, broadband access, digital inequality, and social and community informatics.
Patricia Amaral Buskirk, School of Communications University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Patricia Amaral Buskirk is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communications.  She received the BA from the University of Hawaii in Communication and MFA from the School of Film & Digital Media at Savannah College of Art and Design.  Patricia is a former member of the International Photographers of the Motion Picture and Television Industries (IATSE) Hawaii Local 665 and Hollywood Local 659. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of production as producer, editor, camera operator, and audio engineer. Her research interests include multiplatform (or transmedia) storytelling, digital  convergence, multimedia semiotics, digital identities and aesthetics, indigenous representation, and gamification.

Published
2013-12-22
How to Cite
Winter, J., Buente, W., & Buskirk, P. (2013). Opportunities and Challenges for First-mile Development in Rural Hawaiian Communities. The Journal of Community Informatics, 10(2). Retrieved from http://ci-journal.org/index.php/ciej/article/view/996