Rock Island Heads into The Spring at Full Stride

Rock Island Heads into The Spring at Full Stride

09:52 11 April in Rock Island News

Thank you to the OPALCO Board for their strong leadership

With just over one year of being in business, Rock Island Communications has overcome numerous challenges, and has connected close to a thousand islanders to fast, stable and scalable broadband.

“In just over twelve months, the Rock Island team has installed over 500,000 feet of fiber (over 94 miles) on several islands, and in a wide range of challenging geographic conditions. We have 15 LTE wireless sites online now, giving us the ability to serve over 1,500 homes and businesses. We have 16 active neighborhood construction projects underway, and over 700 fiber connections on deck that will keep our construction teams busy into 2017,” said Alan Smith, SVP of Engineering for Rock Island. “We have completed 11 community fiber builds to date representing hundreds of families, students, seniors and businesses who now enjoy the benefits of modern broadband.”

After incorporating in early 2015, Rock Island set out with a three-part charge to build out a fiber network, deploy a countywide LTE wireless network and provide communication support to all first-responders. With additional operational challenges such as purchasing and integrating a local ISP and its employees, and expanding the Rock Island staff and systems to be able to achieve its objectives, the team had a lot on its plate. Rock Island met these challenges, and was able to complete several large-scale projects in its first year of operation, supplying hundreds of locals with modern Internet connectivity.

“I want to thank the OPALCO Board for showing its commitment to San Juan County by advancing this forward-thinking initiative, and thus laying the foundation for improved emergency communications and greater economic vitality,” said Angela Saxe, Board member and Fiber Group Organizer for the Spring Point HOA. “Your leadership is setting an example that I hope will be followed by other co-ops across the nation. Broadband is quickly becoming a must-have utility. I can think of no one better equipped to deliver it than OPALCO and Rock Island.”

The Century Link outage of 2013 showed the general public the extent of the communication crisis in San Juan County. Islanders demanded something be done about it, and it was the OPALCO Board that made the decision to develop and implement a solution that would benefit the entire community. This decision has already changed the social, economic and political future of our islands. Broadband benefits everyone.

Rock Island is also in the process of rolling out the similar assistance program as OPALCO’s “Energy Assist” program, providing an equal discount to qualified participants on their monthly internet service.

“Rock Island would like to thank the OPALCO Board and management lead by Foster Hildreth for their leadership, courage and determination turning a broadband dream into a reality for all members of this community,” said Gerry Lawlor, EVP of Rock Island. “Without the strong leadership of board officers Jim Lett, Vince Dauciunas and Dr. Jerry Whitfield, none of this would be possible. I hope all who vote in this Board election vote for candidates who support this critical broadband effort.”

Groups and Individuals can learn more about getting connected to Rock Island’s fiber or LTE network online at rockisland.com.

Read more online: http://orcasissues.com/guest-column-rock-island-progress-report