Sunday, January 13, 2002

Oceanic adds Kauai
to go statewide

By Erika Engle

Oceanic Cable parent company Time Warner Cable has reached a deal to buy Garden Isle Telecommunications, making it the lone cable television provider on every Hawaiian island save Oahu. Garden Isle was owned by G Force LLC of North Carolina.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The final price will depend on the number of subscribers the system has closer to the closing date.

"We have over the years acquired systems on the Big Island and Maui County," said Oceanic Vice President for Finance Russell Saiki. "Kauai right now is the only one not owned by Time Warner."

Time Warner Cable is a unit of New York-based AOL Time Warner Inc.

The companies are in the process of preparing franchise transfer applications for the Federal Communications Commission, but the only regulatory approval the transaction requires would come from the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Cable Television Division. That may occur in five to six months, Saiki said.

Saiki estimates cable penetration on Kauai at 75 percent. Other households with televisions use rooftop UHF antennas or satellite dishes to receive TV signals, said Garden Isle Telecommunications President Bill Harkins. He doesn't believe anti-trust issues will arise to block the transaction.

"We do not have a monopoly on video entertainment," said Oceanic Director of Public Affairs Kit Beuret.

"Blockbuster is our biggest competitor, when you think about it," Beuret said.

Saiki also cited competition on other islands from "those guys up in the sky -- there's dish and DirecTV," he said.

E-mail to Business Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2002 Honolulu Star-Bulletin