Hawaiian ILEC infrastructure and fire

It’s common for a lot of cell backhaul to be on poles because it’s seen as cheap and easy to repair, except when you have a lot of failures at once, and I’m guessing replacement poles require a bit more effort to get there like everything else.

I’m reminded of the fiber routes in/out of Madrid where they are all (largely) on a single route. There is a diverse route but it’s $$$ and some providers don’t want to pay for it.

There’s a number of towns in the US that don’t even have any fiber connectivity at all, the voice/data come in via licensed links.

It’s also common that something is missed or gets groomed off a diverse path without your knowledge. Seen this many times.

- Jared

I missed some of the below yesterday.

"Though I am curious about the Paniolo cable landing in Lahaina. Did it survive"

I believe a land section of the Paniolo cable was not burned and I think that's what they used. Perhaps it was actually the undersea part and I just don't have access to that data. One thing I do know is the Paniolo cable is what allowed us to get the MPLS node back to the core so quickly. I feel pretty confident the CLS survived, but I have no actual data on that.

"HICS and HIFN land in Kihei instead, right?"

Yes, but there was a second fire in the Kula area (a 1.5 hour drive from Lahaina with no traffic) that was headed towards Kihei. I think they stopped it, but it was the same thing. Homes burnt to the ground and a LOT of fiber was burned up in Kula (1500-3500 feet above sea level).

"you would think they had microwave backup at minimum."

There is not very much microwave here. There're issues with land and microwave tower rights on an island that size in addition to the geography which makes that an expensive alternative. HT has some m/w on the tops of the mountains, but no other companies that I am aware of can get that done.

"I'm sure a few cells burned but there are over ten on the west side so they didn't all burn."

I am not sure how that works, but many of the cell sites are/were on buildings and such; not on towers.

"Feet on the ground are reporting they brought in at least a few COWS (cellular on wheels/portable cell site trucks)"

Yes, they did that with satellite back to their core.


I don't want to overwhelm the list, but since there's interest here's something interesting I just now got from the electric company. 400 poles and 300 transformers. Wow!


  Over the past week, I have been with our teams on Maui that have helped safely restore power to 80% of the customers affected. Among other efforts, we have deployed more than 400 Hawaiian Electric crew members and contractors to Maui.

We are:

     Using a mobile substation at Lahainaluna to help restore power to homes, schools and county facilities;

     Working with county officials to identify priority circuits to bring stores, pharmacies, gas stations, water and wastewater facilities and other key locations online as quickly as possible;

     Restoring service to hotels and resorts to be used to house displaced residents, enabling them to move out of emergency shelters;

     Replacing some of the estimated 400 poles, 300 transformers and other equipment damaged by the fires and high winds and conducting extensive repairs in areas that are safe and accessible; and

     Shipping dozens of vehicles and pieces of specialized equipment from O‘ahu and bringing in additional expert personnel and equipment from the continental U.S.

Hi all - I’ve also asked the Nomad Futurist Foundation for sources for help. Here are a few if you are interested. There will also be a number of initiatives to help with goods/services donations which would be great. Hope these help too:

Maui Food Bank: https://mauifoodbank.org/
Maui Humane Society: https://www.mauihumanesociety.org/donate-olx/?formID=mainButton
Hawaii Community Foundation: https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong

Thank you for all of the interest and support as rebuild efforts get underway, Hawaii will need this industry.


Those of us from California and the west have watched this in abject horror and I myself was completely clueless this was possible.

Mike, who lives 10 miles from where the Caldor fire started that burned all the way to Tahoe and grew up going to Paradise to visit my grandparents

Me too. I have friends and family over there. Even though I am not (and they were not) affected it has had a big impact on my emotions.

Also, fto answer an an earlier email - I found the Paniolo cable we connected to for the Lahaina MPLS node was a land run that was underground, so it didn't get burned.


The single road, or two road situation is extremely similar to what is happening right now in some parts of canada, with massive forest fires in the northwest territories, cutting off Yellowknife and rural communities. If the fiber is built along the one road that exists, and that one road gets overwhelmed by Forest fire, game over.