The internet got a little bit bigger this week.

After two days of conference programming, the Indigienous Connectivity Summit (ICS) traveled to the village of Pu`uhonua O Waimanalo on the island of O’ahu, home of the Independent and Sovereign Nation of Hawai’i. 

The Nation of Hawai’i welcomed the ICS onto their land for two days of technical training and the buildout of a wireless community network, led in partnership with the Internet Society and MuralNet. Technical experts from the field led hands-on workshops about LTE-U networks, the wireless equipment that would be used in the community’s network, how to assemble ethernet cables, and more.

For the network, the Nation partnered with Hawaiian Telcom to bring fiber directly into the community. The Nation used the fiber line to provide backhaul to a wireless base station, installed on the roof of the community building, which in turn uses unlicensed LTE spectrum to connect a series of Customer Premise Equipment units (CPEs) across the community. The CPEs were then hooked up to power and wireless routers to provide a private Wi-Fi network. The Nation of Hawai’i is the owner and operator of the network, which serves about 20 buildings and 80 community members in total. 

The build itself was carried out entirely by community members and partners, which helped foster a sense of ownership and pride which will be key for the long term sustainability of the network.

On becoming their own service provider, Brandon Maka’awa’awa, Deputy Head of State for the Nation of Hawai’i, said “it means that there are more opportunities available to us, and that we have a little bit more say and control in self-determining our future.”

Next Century Cities extends sincere thanks to the Nation of Hawai’i for their hospitality, and to the Nation and the Internet Society for inviting us to collaborate on this project. We hope to support other communities as they pursue connectivity for self-empowerment. 

Read our first blog on the ICS here.