Rock Island Communications: A locally owned and operated Internet Service Provider (ISP) serving the San Juan Islands. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of OPALCO with the express mission of providing San Juan County with the highest level of broadband service at the most cost effective price.


OPALCO: Orcas Power & Light Cooperative (OPALCO) is a member-owned, non-profit cooperative electric utility providing services to San Juan County since 1937.


Fiber Optic Broadband: Fiber optic technology converts electrical signals carrying data to light and sends this light through transparent glass fibers about the diameter of a human hair. Fiber transmits data at speeds far exceeding current DSL or cable modem speeds, typically by tens or even hundreds of Mbps.


DSL Broadband: DSL is a wire-line transmission technology that transmits data faster over traditional copper telephone lines already installed to homes and businesses. DSL-based broadband provides transmission speeds ranging from several hundred Kbps to millions of bits per second (Mbps).


LTE or Fixed Wireless Broadband: LTE Fixed wireless is a technology for getting fast and reliable broadband to locations within the county too expensive to deliver Fiber to the premise. LTE Fixed wireless broadband utilizes the speed and coverage of a 4G (LTE) network using the 700Mhz spectrum to deliver broadband connectivity.


Middle Mile: A term used to describe the length of fiber running from the nearest fiber optic backbone location to and through your neighborhood or group’s development.


Last Mile: A term used to describe the length of fiber running from the nearest Middle Mile location to your home.


Incentive Program: Rock Island Communication has set aside $4.5 million dollars to be used as incentives, to help its fiber optic customers with their construction costs in building middle and last miles. These incentives will be available to the first 3,000 subscribers who sign up for the service. They can choose between two types of incentives:


The Construction Incentive: The Construction Incentive is a one-time, $1,500 credit toward your middle or last mile build cost. Rock Island will cover the first $1,500, and the connecting customer is responsible for all construction costs that exceed this amount. Groups of neighbors can choose to pool their Construction Incentives, so cost savings will be greatest where there is a higher level of participation within your neighborhood.


The Discount Incentive: This incentive is available if you are willing to cover the entire cost of construction for both middle and last miles. In this case, you would decline the Construction Incentive, and in return, Rock Island will give you a $20 per-month discount on your monthly bill for as long as you are at this service address. This incentive is not transferable to new owners if you decide to sell your house.


Power Grid Control Backbone: The original fiber optic network built by OPALCO starting in 2001 to control and monitor the electric grid systems through the San Juans. Rock Island connects your middle mile and last mile into this backbone in order to provide Internet service to San Juan County.


Island Network: The original fiber optic network department within OPALCO established in 2001. This was spun out from OPALCO in 2014 and became what is now Rock Island Communications.


NewCo: A term used exclusively in the planning phase of establishing Rock Island Communications by OPALCO. This appears in documents pertaining to this initiative during that period.