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Thursday, November 9, 2000

Campbell Estate
An artist's drawing of the Mid-Pacific Broadband Inc.
building that will be constructed on 54 acres of
undeveloped industrial land in Kapolei.

Seattle-based firm
chooses Hawaii
for $125 million
Internet center

It will be the first link
in a chain of access points
for global businesses

By Tim Ruel

A Seattle-based Internet development company has selected Hawaii for the first link in a chain of Internet access points and data storage centers for businesses around the world.

Mid-Pacific Broadband Inc. signed a 50-year lease this week with the Estate of James Campbell for 54 acres of undeveloped industrial land in Kapolei to build a major data center.

"Essentially, the facility is there to push data closer to the users in Asia," Craig Goldenberger, the company's chief executive officer, said yesterday.

"It's going to make every (Internet) connection on the island faster."

Goldenberger, who has five years' experience in the Internet and telecommunications business, was to officially announce the project this morning at the office of Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"This is a significant development that will position Hawaii as a major player in the digital economy by enabling more e-commerce between the United States and Asia," Cayetano said in a statement.

Mid-Pacific Broadband

Mid-Pacific will build the center in phases, starting with a 100,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in a year. It will employ 50 technicians, sales representatives and executives. The company will hire locally.

Eventually, the center could take on an additional 200,000 square feet, Goldenberger said. His firm could employ as many as 150 people, not including the workers of other companies that could locate their network equipment in the new facility.

All businesses that tap the Internet -- from multinational corporations to local law offices -- could use the center to reach into the backbone of the Internet, Goldenberger said. There's a real shortage of such so-called bandwidth in Hawaii, and that discourages businesses from coming here, he said.

Goldenberger predicts the development will not only attract more high-tech companies to Kapolei, but will save money through efficiency. For example, say a customer of LavaNet sends an email to someone across the street who uses Verizon Hawaii. "There's a very good chance that that email is going all the way to Palo Alto, Calif., before it comes to you," Goldenberger said.

That's a waste of Internet space and slows down the entire system, he said, especially when it happens millions of times.

Mid-Pacific leased the large acreage so a high-tech park could ultimately bring new businesses to Kapolei and the state, Goldenberger said.

California's Silicon Valley has about 100 such data centers, while Hawaii has only two smaller ones, he said.

"Hawaii is the landing point for many fiber-optic cables across the Pacific," Goldenberger said. "It's a natural hub to manage those cables."

Next week, the Southern Cross Cable Network is scheduled to open a new transpacific cable, connecting North America to Australia. That would mean a lot more data flowing through Hawaii.

After talking to other organizations to build his center, Goldenberger approached Campbell earlier this year. The two reached an agreement in principle in a week. "That is really fast, even for Internet time," said Goldenberger, a 44-year-old Seattle resident.

"They were almost saying my speech for me."

Campbell Estate, a 100-year-old Hawaii private trust that owns real estate nationwide, has announced other high-tech business developments in Kapolei:

Bullet The first was Southco Inc., a Pennsylvania hardware company that opened a customer-support service center in January 1999.

Bullet Later, Virginia software company Total Resource Management Inc. opened a Kapolei office.

Bullet Most recently, Software Pharmacy Inc. moved its research and development to Kapolei from Silicon Valley.

Hawaii high tech

Seattle-based Mid-Pacific Broadband Inc. is leasing 54 acres from the Estate of James Campbell to start a massive, international high-tech project:

Bullet What: A data center designed to let businesses in Asia, Australia and the Americas tap the backbone of the Internet
Bullet Where: Kapolei, near Campbell Industrial Park
Bullet Facility size: 100,000 square feet at first, with the potential to grow to 300,000 square feet
Bullet Employees: 50 at first, up to 150 eventually
Bullet Types of jobs: College-trained network technicians, sales representatives
Bullet Investment: $125 million

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