Monthly Fiber Update: August

Greetings Islanders,

Another Monthly Fiber Update is here. How exciting!

This email series has been designed to help answer some of the most common questions we receive about our fiber initiative. We’ll continue to send out information every month to keep you up-to-date on our project, and let you know how to get involved if you choose to do so.

If you missed prior editions, you can read them here. If you prefer not to receive these updates, simply click the “unsubscribe from this list” link at the bottom of this email.


Our Group Fiber Projects

The Rock Island team is currently engaged in several fiber construction projects throughout the county with a long line on the horizon behind them. No other project of this scale has been rolled-out in our county to date at this pace, and we’re proud to be leading the effort in this historic event!

Here is our current project list in two groups:

1) Current Projects

These are groups that have gone through the fiber organizing process, paid for their middle miles and are currently under construction to get fiber to their homes or businesses.

  • Downtown Eastsound on Orcas Island
  • Harney View Park on Orcas Island
  • Cape San Juan Part 2 on San Juan Island
  • Portland Fair Area on San Juan Island
  • Roche Harbor Village on San Juan Island
  • Salmon Point on Lopez Island
  • Elderberry on Orcas Island
  • Matia View on Orcas Island

2) Upcoming Projects

These groups have gone through the fiber organizing process, and are waiting to be scheduled by our construction team.

  • Hilltop on Lopez Island
  • Garry Oak on San Juan Island
  • Otter’s Pond on Orcas Island
  • Channel Road on Orcas Island

These two groups represent hundreds of fiber Internet connections. If you want to get your group organized, please visit our website to learn more about the fiber group organizing process.


“The cooperative is doing it again, but now the light bulb is the internet,” said Mr. Creason, age 82. 


How to Give Rural America Broadband? Look to the Early 1900s

The New York Times came out with an article this week that tells our story. In fact, it tells the story of 40 other electric coops in the nation who have done what we’ve done in San Juan County to solve our communications crisis.

Some people were critical of OPALCO for organizing and executing on a broadband initiative. While it may have seemed outlandish for a power coop to get into the Internet business at first glance, a deeper look will show you that this is a common trend happening throughout the USA, and for good reason. Rural communities like ours have been left out of the digital revolution. We have been trying to get more out of maxed and decaying infrastructure for far too long. When reaching out for help, telecom and cable companies have shunned our needs due to the cost of bringing equipment and service over long distances to so few people.

Local power companies like ours have been leveraging techniques and infrastructure used to electrify the United States nearly a century ago to bring us into the 21st century – and it’s working. As this article states, “the parallels between bringing electricity and bringing broadband to rural areas run deep.” Read their article learn more, and be sure to pass it along to other islands if you find it helpful:

LTE Fixed Wireless Is Here to Help!

You may have noticed our advertisements in the local media, or receive a call from a Rock Island staff member recently about our new LTE Fixed Wireless Internet service. We have been rolling out this new service using fiber-backed wireless technology that is delivering blazing Internet speeds to those who qualify for service.

We can support literally thousands of customers on this new network and we want everyone to know this new option is now available throughout the county (especially to outer islands). If you are frustrated with your current Internet connection, our LTE Fixed Wireless may be an excellent upgrade for you. Unlike fiber, there is no installation costs or long wait for service. Call our LTE Hotline now and you could be up in running in 5 minutes or less.

Call Our LTE Availability Hotline Number Today: 360-298-7216

Our LTE Fixed Wireless is a vital part of our overall connectivity strategy. Its primary purpose is to serve hard-to-reach homes and businesses where fiber is too expensive to deliver, or too hard to reach. As with all wireless services, topography and tree density play a critical role in the ability to get service. Call us today and we will analyze your address to see if you qualify for this unique service. You can learn more online as well.


It’s a Wrap: One Year of Monthly Open Meetings

We started hosting monthly fiber meet-ups a year ago to open up a longer format, face-to-face dialog with the community about our fiber project. Meetings have rotated every month from island to island throughout the past year and have been well attended.

Thank you to all who have come to one or more of these meetings! We have enjoyed speaking with every one of you about our project, your needs and how we could get you faster Internet to your home or business.

After a full year of successful outreach, and 24 meetings held on 3 islands, we are retiring these two Fiber Monthly Meetings. We will replace them with a new format of spreading the word, and we will fill you in on our plans in next month’s update.

That’s it for now folks! Have a great August and we’ll visit you again via email with next month edition of our Monthly Fiber Update. We appreciate your time and your support. We couldn’t do this without you!

All our best,

The Rock Island Team