Marty Plotnick's CyberZone














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With the pending acquisition of Verizon Hawaii by The Carlyle Group, we've been presenting a concise history of telecom in Hawaii. We left off as World War II was coming to an end. Now, we start with the post-War period with 4,000 customers waiting for phone lines.

Some of these wait-listed folks had been on the list for up to four years. But even though had laid 12,500 miles of cable in 1945, it still had problems getting copper and lead, as government restrictions had not been lifted. It took over six months from War's-end to get 200 lines installed. From that point in March 1946, 500 went hot in May, 800 in June, etc. By the end of 1940, 3,800 new lines were installed. 1946 began with 978 employees, double that of 1940. The payroll went from 1940's over $1 million to $2.25 million.

In 1947, 9,000 new lines were installed and a target of 10,000 set for 1948. That latter year's plans were stalled by two strikes: a dock strike and 600 Mutual employees going on a five-week unauthorized strike.

In 1949 Mutual installed 10,357 lines, but there was still a 4,377 line backlog. Also, a new automatic switch was installed on Lanai replacing Dole's manual switch and direct service to Molokai established voiding the Maui switch-through. By the end o 1949, the insterlsland system, had a total of 90 channels, including 41 voice,
24 teletype, and 25 dial signaling. TransPacific channels were increased to nine.

These years saw explosive growth in tourism and construction of residential subdivisions. The demand for phones did not stop. It took
59 years for Mutual to reach 50,000 lines, then only 8.5 years for another 50,000, The third 50,000 took only six years.

By the end of 1952, 93 percent of all phones in the Territory were automatic dial.

At 10,000 lines years per year, it took more than 91 million feet of cable to achieve these increases.

In 1953, flat-rate toll service was initiated between Honolulu and the Windward towns. Simultaneously, tolls were removed between Waipahu-Ewa-Barbers point Exchanges and the city. As a result the Windward calls increased by 350 percent, the Leeward calls grew by 220 percent. Gradually the Outer Islands went toll free, and by 1958 all of Oahu was toll-free.

In 1954 Mutual changed its name to "Hawaiian Telephone Company", apparently coming of age in modern Hawaii.

The interIsland radio telephone system was full upgraded and by 1954 all eight radio stations were unattended. By 1957, interIsland calls hit 365,889.

In 1955, Mutual joined forces with AT&T to lay a submarine cable between Hawaii and the Mainland. The project was estimated at $37 million. In October, 1957, the cable was completed and service implemented. On Christmas 1957, the cable handled 1,586 calls--the highest ever.

As expansion continued, the decades long battle for Hawaii to gain Statehood would finally be realized.

Next installment begins with Statehood in 1959,


Marty Plotnick

Copyright 2004 Creative Resources, Inc. All Rights Reserved Copyright not asserted for materials from third party publications.
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE

Part 3 HERE

Part 4 HERE





Copyright [2004] [Creative Resources, Inc.]