Hawaii's geography makes telecommunications a necessity for the provision of educational opportunities across the islands. The University of Hawaii and State Department of Education began by cooperating in providing distance education through the Hawaii Interactive Television System. The relationship has evolved to include cooperative programming of educational access cable television channels, statewide Internet deployment, the development of Institutional Networks (I-Nets) provided by cable companies under their franchise orders including SONET and Ethernet-over-CATV technology, formalization of the Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium, and the award of a large NSF grant. This paper discusses key milestones in the evolution of casual cooperation into true partnership. It explores the opportunities for benefits to each partner and, particularly, why the University chooses to be actively involved.