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A HISTORY OF THE "TELEPHONE COMPANY" IN HAWAII--Part
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
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
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
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
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
As expansion continued, the decades long battle for Hawaii to gain
Statehood would finally be realized.
Next installment begins with Statehood in 1959,
Copyright 2004 Creative Resources, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Copyright not asserted for materials from third party publications.
Part 1 HERE
Part 2 HERE