Kokua Line

June Watanabe

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Satellite radio service
is not available here

Question: I see a lot of stores selling satellite radios. Are we in Hawaii able to get satellite radio? I know that there is a monthly fee, but I was just wondering if we could catch it here.

Answer: You may be able to buy receivers for satellite radio, but you cannot currently subscribe to satellite radio service in Hawaii.

Satellite radio offers mainland listeners in homes and cars clear CD-quality signals from hundreds of radio stations thousands of miles away. You're supposed to be able to drive across the continental United States and be able to listen to the same station without any loss of quality.

The Federal Communications Commission approved allocating a spectrum in the S-band for satellite radio broadcasting across the United States in 1992. Of the four companies that applied for a license to broadcast over that band, the FCC, granted two licenses in 1997 -- to CD Radio (now Sirius Satellite Radio) and American Mobile Radio (now XM Satellite Radio).

"Our satellites provide service only over the 48 contiguous United States," said Chance Patterson, vice president of corporate affairs for XM Satellite Radio. There are no present plans to expand service to Hawaii, he said, adding, "but then you never know."

Sirius officials did not respond to our request for information.

According to its Web site, XM broadcasts 100 channels of "totally new music, news, sports and children's programming direct to cars and homes via satellite and our extensive (ground) repeater network, which supplements the satellite signal to ensure seamless transmission."

Q: What happened to the wooden Swanzy Beach Park sign? Parks workers took the sign away a couple of years ago to repair but never returned it. All that's left is the whale carving the sign was attached to.

A: The carved sign, donated to the park, had deteriorated about five years ago.

"It was sort of a landmark in the community," acknowledged Wilford Ho, Windward District manager for the city Department of Parks & Recreation.

Because the city did not have the ability to replicate it, it replaced it with a standard blue-and-white parks sign.

The wooden sign, which hung from a carving of a whale, was the work of a member of the well-known Reppun family from Windward Oahu, Ho said.

He said he would welcome anyone with a carving talent who would like to make another such donation. He might even be able to provide the wood. If you can help out, call Ho at 233-7300.

Q: In the April 24 "Kokua Line," you said Verizon Hawaii customers could have addresses eliminated from the phone directory at no charge. But I called Verizon and was told it would cost $8.50. Who's correct?

A: It turns out Verizon does charge customers for eliminating addresses from the phone directory -- if the address is already listed. When a Verizon spokeswoman said there would be no charge, she said she should have said there is no charge when accounts are first set up.

However, there is an $8.50 charge for making any change to an existing listing, whether omitting an address or changing a name or both.


Useful phone numbers

Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered.
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