Monthly Fiber Update: July

Hello Summer!

It’s July already and time for another Monthly Fiber Update! This email series will 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.

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Our Group Fiber Projects

The Rock Island team is currently engaged in several fiber construction projects throughout the county with a long line of projects on the horizon. No other project of this scale has ever 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 at this particular moment:

Current Group-Funded Projects:
These are groups that have gone through the fiber organizing process, paid for their middle miles and are currently under construction.

  • Downtown Eastsound on Orcas Island
  • Harney View Park on Orcas Island
  • Cayou Valley on Orcas Island
  • Brown Island on San Juan 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
  • Walker Drive and Karen Ln on Orcas Island


Upcoming Group-Funded Projects:

These are groups that have gone through the fiber organizing process, paid for their middle miles and are waiting to be scheduled by our construction team.

  • Otter’s Pond on Orcas Island
  • Hilltop and Sea Ranch on Lopez Island
  • Garry Oak on San Juan Island
  • Walker Drive and Karen Ln on Orcas Island
  • Panorama Place on San Juan Island


ONLINE Fiber Groups:

Just as it sounds, these people all have gigabit fiber connections in their homes or businesses!

  • Eagle Lake on Orcas Island
  • Alder Cottages on Orcas Island
  • Alder Forest 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
  • LCLT Tuatara Rd on Lopez Island
  • The Hamlet on Lopez Island
  • Whiskey Hill on Lopez Island
  • Morley Drive on Orcas Island
  • Indian Point on Orcas Island

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

The Rock Island Mid-Year Update

Rock Island has had a very busy start to the year leading into the busier summer season. We have 11 neighborhood/group projects under active construction around the county at the moment. We expect to yield over 400 fiber connections upon the completion of these projects over the coming weeks and months. We are also closing on multiple new neighborhoods and groups, booking our crews well into 2017. The pipeline is growing and the crews are working non-stop.

The LTE Fixed Wireless program has also been tremendously popular with multiple new services delivered around the county every day. We have 17 of our planned sites online delivering service to many of the hard-to-reach locations and underserved areas in San Juan County. This cutting-edge technology is delivering capability far surpassing any other alternative for over 500 customers with many more to come soon. We are expecting 6 more LTE sites to be operational by the end of July and early August.

THE SUMMER OF SAN JUAN

San Juan Island is seeing the bulk of activity over the coming months with major neighborhood projects throughout the island from Roche Harbor area all the way to the Cape. We have been rolling out miles of distribution fiber, along with setting up several key LTE wireless sites that will be coming online this summer. We’ve run fiber down Argyle and Cattle Point Road on a project designed to bring fiber all the way to Cape San Juan. As this segment gets lit, it will activate a second, westbound segment with over 18 miles of fiber that was hung last year down Bailer Hill, Douglass and San Juan Valley roads. This will enable over 300 homes within 200 feet the ability to build last mile fiber connections, with many seeing NO upfront cost given our $1,500 incentive program.

In addition to the many individuals along this route, groups like Garry Oak, Portland Fair and Panorama Place will start to get service. If you have been waiting to get connected, it’s time to start thinking about mobilizing your group! Talk to your neighbors and be sure to visit our website to get educated on the process.

PROGRESS TO PLAN

We have 415 fiber accounts currently in development, 161 new connections live as of the end of May, and another 91 booked and waiting to be scheduled for a total of 667 total connections in our committed pipeline for 2016 – surpassing our goals set for the year. In addition, we have delivered or are currently working on multiple new ISP and Institutional connections. We are running a little behind plan on the fiber side at the moment, but expect to make that up now that many seasonal residents are here and focused on completing their connections. LTE is right on in line with our plan and again given our seasonal focus, we will see a very busy few months ahead.

MAJOR SYSTEM-WIDE PROJECTS UNDERWAY

Aside from the group, individual and LTE projects that we talk about regularly, we are usually engaged with several larger projects around the county to support this initiative. Here are some of the system-supporting projects currently underway:

  • Guard Tucker Rebuild (downtown Friday Harbor street scape)
  • Pear Point to Argyle under build starts on 6/20 (2.5 miles of under build on San Juan Island)
  • Moran State Park Backbone fiber extension loop
  • Roche Harbor Resort Wi-Fi project nearing completion and is wildly successful thus far. Resort customers seeing 50Mbps speeds beyond the breakwater

 

INDIVIDUAL CONNECTION PROGRAM

There is a continued stream of individual connections happening all over the county and that will continue to grow as our distributable fiber gets lit. Contractor resources are becoming stretched countywide due to the summer season influx. Given the amount of new fiber coming online, this pipeline of work will be very busy through 2017.

  • Over 100 Individual connections in construction and near term pipeline
  • New routes for Individual Connections will roll out as backbone fiber segments become available, most notable on San Juan Island this summer

 

VOIP ROLLOUT

  • We continue to roll out VoiP to existing customers each day with a total of 108 Ooma Telo’s now online, and 97 VoiP customers on Clearfly (205 total)
  • UPS battery backups are going out with VoIP-enabled modems, but there are continued delays for Ooma backups due to product selection and testing
  • Business customers now have to ability to receive a unique functionality set within the OOMA business platform with added feature set
  • Rock Island now carries the full suite of Ooma accessories in both retail stores

 

LTE ROLLOUT PROJECT

  • 17 poles are up, commissioned and lit and all have more customers coming online on a daily basis with 433 customers currently online
  • Next 6 sites are planned to be complete and active by the end of July
  • Customer response continues to be beyond our expectations
  • We are working on completing locations for the remaining sites as we bridge coverage gaps in the network
  • OI Fire & Rescue testing unique in-vehicle routers with the goal of providing island wide coverage for their staff

 

OPERATIONAL PROJECTS

  • We rolled out significant software features over the last few months designed to enable our team to more effectively communicate and support our growing customers base. This new software suite will deliver operational efficiencies, give us new and deeper reporting functionality, along with business accountability far beyond our current state of legacy systems
  • During May and June we completely replaced our entire billing and account management systems. This critical new platform will enable our growth and reporting capabilities and support our full product line from prospecting to on-going subscriptions
  • A major project designed to catch, track and manage inbound calls and email inquiries has been implemented! We now have the entire company working on organized Case queues to be sure the right people respond to our customers in a timely manner
  • A new “Projects” feature within our operational software is being rolled out this month to tie inventory, work hours and projects together for 100% accountability across the full fiber project lifecycle

 

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Buffering? Frustrated? Try Our LTE Fixed Wireless

We recently posted a video on the ferries coming from Anacortes to our beautiful islands. The goal of this video spot is to alert summer residents and part-timers that there is a new high-speed Internet option available to them for the first time in history.

Our LTE Fixed Wireless program can now supply thousands of resident with wireless broadband. Anyone can be up and running in 5 minutes or less, and it all starts with a call to the Rock Island LTE Hotline: (360) 298-7216. Say goodbye to Netflix buffering, and hello to beautiful streaming without delay.

 

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Monthly Open Meetings; Orcas Island in July

We started hosting monthly fiber meet-ups to open up a longer format, face-to-face dialog with the community about our fiber project. Meetings rotate every month from island to island and we hope to see you at one soon!

We announce upcoming meetings and locations here and in our local papers every week. Be sure to attend at least one of these meetings if you’re interested in learning more about our progress.

Please join us at Rock Island Orcas this month. All are welcome and there is no cost for entry.

Here are the details:

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

Next Meeting: July 13th. from 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: July 20th, from 5:30 – 6:30pm

Both of July’s meetings will be held at:

Rock Island Retail Store Orcas
208 Enchanted Forest Rd.
Eastsound, WA 98245
(360) 378-5884

That’s it for now all. 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!

Have a happy 4th of July; be safe and have a great weekend!

The Rock Island Team

 

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