Becoming a Fiber Group Organizer

What you need to know to get started


Calling All Leaders!

Find out what it takes to organize and lead a community group through the process of getting reliable, high-speed, fiber-optic broadband into your neighborhood at the best possible price.

Groups may be formal homeowners, road or water user associations or simply groups of neighbors who come together to share the costs of deploying infrastructure to their neighborhoods.

Why Organize?

The construction effort for building a modern, reliable fiber-optic network around San Juan County and in your community requires a joint effort between you, your neighbors and Rock Island. Our team is actively working with groups across San Juan County to expand our fiber optic infrastructure with the core idea that when more people get involved and share this expenses, the cheaper it is per-property to connect.

Designate a Fiber Group Organizer

If you are a member of organized water, road, homeowners, or other neighborhood-based association, approach your group’s leadership about putting together a plan to connect to fiber and to find a designated fiber group organizer.

No association? No problem. Simply poll your neighbors to see if you can establish a fiber group on your own. Once you have a large enough group, designate a member as your fiber group organizer (which might be YOU) and contact Rock Island to move the process forward.

Your Role As A Fiber Group Organizer

As a fiber group organizer, you become the primary contact between your group and Rock Island. The time commitment will depend upon the size of your fiber group and the complexity of your project.

Before we get into the details, there are a few components to building fiber-optic broadband infrastructure that is important to understand. They are:

1. The Fiber Backbone – the main fiber line installed by OPALCO
2. Middle Mile – the shared fiber that connects multiple properties to the fiber backbone
3. Last Mile – the fiber that connects individual homes/businesses to the Middle Mile

As the Fiber Group Organizer You Will:

  1. Organize: Ask each property owner to complete our online form at This key step helps us to scope your project and develop initial estimates for Middle and Last Mile fiber installations. Depending upon the size of your group, you may want to pull together a small committee to help you.
  2. Educate: A key part of the process is helping the members of your group to understand the basics of fiber, the benefits, and what it takes to get it installed. Of course, we have resources that can help you educate your fiber group.
  3. Communicate: You will communicate processes, plans, status updates, and other important details with members of your fiber group. Gather feedback and questions from your fiber group to communicate back to Rock Island.
  4. Scope: We will organize informational and have discovery meetings with your group and with Rock Island to outline the scope of your project, including the properties involved and your fiber design.
  5. Finalize: Review the Rock Island costing and fiber map with your group to gain feedback, negotiate edits, and ultimately, to gain consensus on a go-forward plan. In some instances, you may need to organize a formal vote in accordance with your association’s by-laws.
  6. Fund: Secure middle mile funding, which may include an assessment, borrowing as a group, or individual check writing.


The Process of Getting Fiber

While every home and group will be unique, there are a few milestones and steps in the process that we can count on. This next section will give you an idea of the phases we will go through together.

1. Generate Initial Estimates: Middle Mile 

The Rock Island team will deliver an initial design along with cost estimates for your Middle Mile. The design will include a low, medium and high per-foot cost estimates of construction difficulty to give you an understanding of what may be involved given different ground conditions.

These initial estimates will help you understand the approximate cost for varying levels of participation in your area, and how changes can affect your associated costs. These estimates provide a baseline for driving the conversation between your fiber group and Rock Island.

2. Generate Final Costing: Middle Mile

If we see increasing levels of interest, leadership, and engagement from your group, the Rock Island team will work with you to refine the design and cost estimates based on your group’s needs to create a firm cost estimate to build your Middle Mile.

Note: Unless otherwise agreed to, firm last mile costings are typically generated in cooperation with individual homeowners after your Middle Mile buildout is complete.

3. Schedule Middle Mile Construction

Once your fiber group has formally approved and funded your Middle Mile, we then schedule your group for construction. We require each party involved to sign a cost estimate and an easement(s) to ensure our ability to construct based upon our design.

You and your fiber group collectively control the timing of this process. The faster we come to an agreement on a design and costs, the quicker we can begin the delivery of true high speed data and voice service. Middle Mile payment is what defines your scheduled start date with our construction team. The sooner your payment is made, the sooner your start date will begin.

4. We Build Your Middle Mile

The time it takes to build out your middle mile depends upon many variables, such as distance, topography, and existing utility infrastructure. Most Middle Mile builds range from one to four months in duration from start to finish.

5. Last Mile Estimates

During or immediately following your Middle Mile build, we  begin working directly with individual property owners to determine the best Last Mile path to their homes to finalize Last Mile designs and cost estimates. Sharing Last Mile builds with close-by neighbors can be a very effective way of saving money. Once a property owner’s Last Mile estimate is complete, we will send the property owner paperwork to complete, including an easement and a final costing for signature.

6. Build Last Mile

Once a property owner submits their completed paperwork and funds their Last Mile, Rock Island will schedule Last Mile construction. This work includes trenching, installing conduit and fiber, connecting the home to the middle mile, and completing any Last Mile construction required.

7. Connect!

The final step! We install your fiber modem in your home and getting you up and running on on our fiber network with speeds of up to 1,000 MBPS – upload AND download!

So what are you waiting for?

Interest in high-speed fiber-optic broadband is at an all-time high in San Juan County. The sooner you get organized, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of a reliable, high-speed broadband connection.