Free Internet for Low-Income Areas - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Free Internet for Low-Income Areas

Gregory Franklin Gregory Franklin
Aryn Nakaoka Aryn Nakaoka

By Mari-Ela David

HONOLULU (KHNL) - In October, Mayor Mufi Hanneman announced free internet in Chinatown courtesy of the City and County of Honolulu. Nearly two months later, free Wi-Fi has exploded beyond the boundaries of Chinatown.

A little antenna has the power to open up the world to low-income areas - free access to the internet tenants at Kuhio Park Terrace are pushing for.

"We're paying about $50 a month for internet service. If we could save that times 1,000 homes plus all the church congregation, that's about $50,000 a month we'll be saving," said Gregory Franklin, a KPT tenant.

"If you look at KPT, there are 120,000 people on a two-square-mile radius. That's 120,000 people that could get online for free," said Aryn Nakaoka, the President of Tri-Net Solutions.

Tri-Net Solutions is the local company that created Kokua Wireless as a community service project. In a deal with city leaders, Tri-Net has successfully installed free Wi-Fi in Chinatown. But Nakaoka says their intent is to target low-income areas such as KPT. Tenants have expressed interest, but Nakaoka says they need business owners to step up.

"What we need is a supervisor or a manager of the site to actually come forward to say, 'Look, we want to help with the project' because we need to secure the antenna to the wall," said Nakaoka.

All it would take is $3.51 per year to pay for the electricity, a small price to pay to bring the world a little closer to those in need.

Aside from KPT, Tri-Net is also trying to set up free Wi-Fi at a low income housing building in Mililani. Since the state runs it, Tri-Net Solutions is waiting for the go-ahead from the government.

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