Monthly Fiber Update: October

Hello there Islanders,

Welcome to the second installment of our Monthly Fiber Update (if you missed last month’s update, you can read it here). In this email series, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about our fiber initiative. We will 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.

You may have seen our print ads running in the island papers recently. Our weekly ad has a list of projects we’re engaged with at the moment. This week’s ad has the following update:

Current Group Projects
Suncrest on Orcas Island
Whiskey Hill on Lopez Island
Cape San Juan on San Juan Island
Mineral Point on San Juan Island
Spring Point on Orcas Island
Mineral Heights on San Juan Island
The Highlands on San Juan Island

Upcoming Group Projects
Garry Oak on San Juan Island
Matia View on Orcas Island
Portland Fair Area on San Juan Island

Completed Group Projects
Alder Forest on Orcas Island
Eagle Lake on Orcas Island
Seattle Pacific University on Blakely Island
Alder Cottages on Orcas Island

The list above totals over 350 upcoming connections, putting us well on our way to meeting our goal of 500 fiber-to-the-home customers by year end. People are getting very excited as they near connectivity. Here is a nice quote from a customer in Spring Point who just finished their Last Mile dig:

“I want you to know ALL the guys that worked here getting it done did a great job! I was continually reassured by all of them that were here. Every single one of them obviously knew what he was doing, and on top of that, were as polite as any group of guys I have ever seen do any work of this type – and I have seen a lot. The guys came back to roll the driveway just now and knocked on the door to insure I was OK with everything. That was the icing on top. Now we are ready to get the last phase done and working. We can’t wait.”

Mike Coughlin, Orcas Island

OK, now for the update!

This Project Seems Big; What Kind of Scale Are We Talking About Here?

The simple answer is yes, it’s big. The more complex answer is that we are managing over 200 simultaneous construction projects at this very moment. Many of us here in the islands know about construction projects; they seem to be a normal part of island life. We build our own homes, do remodels or add additional structures to our land as a matter of course.

It’s no secret that construction projects are stressful. Some may think we’re crazy for taking on this challenge, and we very well may be, but everyone that works at Rock Island believes in this cause so passionately that we’re willing to tackle this opportunity – and the problems that surround it – head on. We face a wide range of challenges, including:

  • Locating, scheduling and moving enough equipment and contractors to fill the demand we are experiencing across several islands
  • Scheduling numerous visits to homes with owners who are here both full and part time
  • Acquiring enough fiber optic cable to meet our needs from a crowded global fiber market where product is frequently back-ordered
  • Coordinating all the personnel involved with each project and disseminating information in real time
  • Doing all this with a small team divided among multiple islands

An effort of this scale has not been attempted in this county since OPALCO started deploying electric service back in 1937. By the end of this rollout, we will have done for communications what OPALCO did for electric service so many years ago.

Are you hiring and can I get involved?

Yes! We are looking for people with industry experience and a great attitude to help round out the Rock Island team. We are always taking applications for:

  • Retail Salespeople
  • Network Engineers
  • Technical Support
  • Field Engineers

If you or someone you know wants to join a thriving technology company making a huge difference, drop us a line at:

Announcing Monthly Open Meetings!

We decided to start hosting monthly meet-ups to provide longer format, face-to-face discussions on our project. Meetings will rotate every month from island to island and we will announce upcoming meeting and locations here in the months to come.

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: October 7, 2015 – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

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: October 14, 2015 – 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

October’s meetings will be held in our Eastsound office:

208 Enchanted Forest Rd., Suite D
Eastsound, WA 98245

The Orcas Island Film Festival is Coming!

One of the great joys of having broadband is to experience the word of cinema. We believe in the power of film and its ability to transform people’s lives. Rock Island is proud to be a sponsor of the 2nd annual Orcas Island Film Festival. This year’s festival will show 30 stellar films that are both award-winners and Oscar contenders.

Join us October 9 – 12 in Eastsound for this unique event. Buy tickets, watch trailers and learn more at their website. See you there!

We will return in November with the next addition of our monthly fiber update. In the meantime, we’ll be making progress every day around the county. Thank you for your time and patience and, most importantly, your support.

All our best,

The Rock Island Team