Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Tune in for plain talk about a very complicated, very bad bill that can cost you $$$ if it goes forward

by Larry Geller

If you looked at SB1680, the subject of my article, Amazingly bad bill could deregulate cable and broadband, kill public access, create a real “czar,” put us at mercy of Mainland telcos, and could cost you $$$, you might have wondered how our state legislature could possibly move such a dangerous bill forward. I’ve wondered also.

To learn more about this and how it could affect your Internet service as well as your cable and phone bills, tune in to Hawaii Public Radio’s Town Square program tomorrow, Thursday for a program on the proposed communications commissioner, the public interest, and the public pocketbook.

Listen 5:00 – 6:00 p.m., Town Square, Hawaii Public Radio, KIPO 89.3 FM or streaming from

The program is hosted by Beth-Ann Kozlovich. Guests will be: Rep. Angus McKelvey (Chair, Economic Revitalization, Business, & Military Affairs Committee), Jay April (President, Akaku Public Television), Art Brodsky (Communications Director, Public Knowledge), David Lassner (UH, and head of the Broadband Task Force).

You can call in at 941-3689 or toll-free at 1 877 941-3689. If you understand this bill, please call in and help explain it. If you don’t understand it but you are as concerned as I am, please call in and find out what to do before it is too late.

In a nutshell, a bill is rushing through the Legislature that would reorganize part of Hawaii’s state government, deregulate phone and cable services, and give unprecedented power to a single commissioner, or “czar,” with sweeping powers beyond the ability of mere mortals to resist. It also repeals the statutes creating your public access TV stations (Olelo, Akaku, etc.), and places their fate under this new czar.

Behind the curtains lurks a company pushing the interests of big telephone carriers who are competing with cable companies for your business. They want a chunk of the action in Hawaii.

Do we really want to do this? Can it be stopped? How much telco money has been spent on campaign contributions and lobbying our state legislators? Is Senator Daniel Inouye really twisting arms to get this bill passed?

All this has been moving through the lawmaking process completely under the radar. I don’t think anything has hit the newspapers yet.

Listen, learn about it, and please call in.


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