Monthly Fiber Update: February

Hello neighbor,

It’s time for another Monthly Fiber Update. This email series will provide the latest and greatest news about our fiber initiative. We‘ll continue to send out information like this every month to keep you up to date on the project, and let you know how to get involved if you choose to do so.

The Rock Island team is currently engaged in several projects throughout the county with a long line of fun projects on deck. We’ve been moving as fast as we can with the time and team we have, so thank you for your patience. No other project of this scale has ever been rolled-out in our county to date, and we’re proud to be leading the effort in this historic event!

Here is a continuation of our project list; we hope you enjoy watching as we progress:

Current Group Projects:
LCLT Tuatara Rd on Lopez Island
Cape San Juan Part 2 on San Juan Island
The Hamlet on Lopez Island
Salmon Point on Lopez Island
Elderberry on Orcas Island
Matia View on Orcas Island
Whiskey Hill on Lopez Island
Suncrest on Orcas Island

Upcoming Group Projects:
Eastsound Downtown
Cayou Valley on Orcas Island
Brown Island on Brown Island
Eastsound Downtown on Orcas Island
Roche Harbor Village on San Juan Island
Harney View on Orcas Island
Garry Oak on San Juan Island
Portland Fair Area on San Juan Island
Panorama Place on San Juan Island

Completed Group Projects!
Alder Cottages on Orcas Island
Alder Forest on Orcas Island
Eagle Lake on Orcas Island
Seattle Pacific University on Blakely Island
Mineral Heights on San Juan Island
Mineral Point on San Juan Island
The Highlands on San Juan Island
Cape San Juan Part 1 on San Juan Island
Morning Light on Orcas Island
Spring Point on Orcas Island

There are hundreds of fiber connections under development now and on our planning list for the year to come. If you want to get your group organized, please visit our website to learn more about the process.

Downtown Eastsound is Getting Fiber!

If you didn’t see the article recently published about our plans in Eastsound, be sure to give it a read. It’s taken months to develop a design and rollout plan, but now we’re ready and about to move forward connecting all business in the Eastsound core who wish to be connected to our fiber network!

If you can’t imagine the complexities of connecting a major hub like Eastsound, Friday Harbor or the Lopez Hamlet to a fiber network, let me give you a quick rundown of some of the hurdles we leap to pull this off. We need to navigate dense and complex existing utilities, sidewalks, asphalt and landscaping, follow and comply with city and county planning ordinances, avoid the heavy tourism season and traffic periods, collect legal rights and easements from every property owner to allow us to do this work on their property, meet with each owner and speak to every tenant that wants fiber service per building, collaborate with each building tenant and learn how they will be using technology in their business… and the list keeps on going. While long and complex, we don’t mind the process one bit. We will do whatever it takes to get our city centers connected to usable Internet so they can run their businesses better, and serve our community at the best of their ability.

Once we get through Eastsound, we’ll look to the other major hubs in the county to tackle when the time is right. All three city centers on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan are a huge priority for our team, and we look forward to connecting each of them as soon as possible.

Our Fiber Group Organizer, Mary Clure, who is also the president of the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber has endorsed the project. “This is such an opportunity. The Rock Island construction incentive helps keep the cost down and that is so important for businesses to get connected.” Thank you for the kind words Mary, and for all your hard work getting downtown Eastsound organized! You’ve done a great job.

Read the entire article online and keep an eye out for us in Eastsound this spring getting to work.

Cape San Juan: Fiber to the End of the Earth

We are proud to announce that we have begun part two of one of the hardest challenges we’ve encountered to date: getting people a better connection down at the Cape San Juan.

As our very first group to team up with us here at Rock Island almost a year ago, it was clear that they (both the Cape San Juan and Cattle Point Estates neighborhoods) had both the organizational skills required to pull off a major build, as well as the need. Homeowners in the area are starving for better connectivity. Century Link has deemed this area “exhausted,” meaning there are no additional DSL connections available, and those who do have DSL have very limited capacity.

Located on the other side of a national park, and at the bottom of a very large island, the challenge of getting these folks better service required experimentation and creativity. Over the past year Rock Island has drawn, re-drawn and built out a complex wireless-fed network down there, and have connected more than 25 individual homes to our fiber network. Now, on the heels of the now completed Cattle Point Road repair, we are moving forward with connecting all homes that want to be connected via fiber!

This phase is monumental, and includes both the Rock Island and OPALCO crews working in partnership to make our way down Cattle Point Road, into and through the park, and finally into the Cattle Point and Cape San Juan neighborhoods.

Work has already begun, and we are currently working on rolling out plan details to the residence of this area with Fiber Group Organizers (FGOs) Jim Hooper and Kurt McMillen – both of you have been incredible partners along this journey.

We wish to send both Jim and Kurt, as well as the rest of the community down there, a big thank you for your time, energy and patience. We can’t wait to get you all connected to fiber, and leave those DSL frustrations in the past!

Monthly Open Meetings; San Juan Island in February

We started hosting monthly fiber meet-ups last September to open up a longer format, face-to-face dialog with the community about our project. Meetings will rotate every month from island to island. We will announce upcoming meetings and locations here and in our local papers. Be sure to attend at least one of these meetings if you’re interested in learning more. We will be happy to welcome you, shake your hand and answer any questions you may have.

Please join us at the Rock Island retail store on San Juan this month. All are welcome and there is no cost to entry.

Here are the details:

1) Our Monthly Open Meeting: Join us for this general information session. All are welcome to attend. We will provide a general update and answer questions from the audience.

Next Meeting: February 10th – 5:30-6:30pm

2) Monthly Group Organizer Meeting: Learn more about organizing your group at this session. We will go over the process and share best practices on how other groups have organized and got fiber to their homes for reasonable rates.

Next Meeting: February 17th – 5:30-6:30pm

Both of February’s meetings will be held in our Friday Harbor location:

Rock Island Retail Store
345 Court Street
Friday Harbor, WA 98250
(360) 378-5884

We’ll return next month with another edition to our monthly fiber update. In the meantime, thank you for your time and your support. We couldn’t do this without you!

All our best,

The Rock Island Team