Coast Guard, state officials announce new emergency data microwave network

HONOLULU– With a press briefing and traditional maile lei ceremony at the Hawaii State Capitol Sept. 30, 2008, U.S. Coast Guard and Hawaii state officials will officially launch “Anuenue,” a new inter-island digital microwave network.

The network will support the day-to-day and emergency data transport needs of federal and state government agencies and improves emergency communications capabilities in Hawaii.

Tuesday’s ceremony will include remarks by Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona and Rear Adm. Timothy Sullivan, commander of the Coast Guard’s Maintenance and Logistics Command Pacific in Alameda, Calif.

The shared Anuenue system was jointly developed by Coast Guard and state technicians and arose from a need to replace a technologically-outdated predecessor, the “Rainbow Microwave System.” The Coast Guard contributed more than $13 million and the state added $10 million; both agencies also contributed significant non-monetary resources to the project.

“The partnership between the Coast Guard, the state of Hawaii and county governments was an opportunity to double the resources and capabilities brought to the table,” said Rear Adm. Manson K. Brown, commander of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District, headquartered in Honolulu.

“Hawaii is more secure and better prepared for emergencies as a result of this joint effort. The Anuenue system will assist rapid recovery efforts and ensure that critical lines of communication remain open during disasters, as well as day-to-day operations.”

The Anuenue microwave system was engineered to provide for government rescue agencies a communications system that would not be disrupted by disasters, natural or otherwise.

Anuenue provides a robust data pathway designed to survive wind speeds of up to 110 mph and to survive the 155 mph winds of a Category 4 hurricane. The Coast Guard will use Anuenue to monitor the VHF marine band radio system — the system used by mariners to communicate on the water.

“We cannot afford to allow power outages to interfere with the ability of government agencies to communicate with one another during statewide emergencies,” Aiona said. “With Anuenue, we now have a system in place that can withstand hurricanes. This is about making sure that all levels of government can carry out their duties when responding to natural disasters.”

Fifteen towers and facilities are being installed or refurbished around the islands for Anuenue, including one on Molokai, two on Kauai, three on Maui, four on Oahu and five on the Big Island. Towers range in size from 50 to 180 feet, while antennas range in diameter from 4 to 15 feet. Additional connections to strategic points at lower elevations on the various islands have also been built in order to extend the reach of Anuenue’s backbone network.

“Anuenue’s launch is the culmination of a multi-year, cooperative effort,” Aiona said. “I want to thank the U.S. Coast Guard for working closely with our administration on this important project. We greatly appreciate the U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment to the time and effort needed to see this project through.”

Other users of the Anuenue system will include, state and county civil defense, the Hawaii state Departments of Public Safety, Transportation, Health, and Land and Natural Resources, county police, fire, and emergency personnel, and NOAA, FAA, Customs and Border Protection, National Park Service, and the U.S. Army.

Today’s news conference will mark the “initial operating capability,” or first day of use of Anuenue. The system is expected to be running at full operational capability by 2011 and will be jointly managed by the Coast Guard’s Electronics System Support Unit, based at Sand Island, and the State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Accounting and General Services’ Information and Communication Services Division.

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