Monthly Fiber Update: December

Hello folks!

Welcome to the fourth installment and year-end edition of our Monthly Fiber Update (if you missed any prior month’s update, you can read them here). In this email series, we’ll answer some of the most common questions 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. If you do not want to receive these updates, simply click the “unsubscribe from this list” link at the bottom of this email.

Our weekly ad in the local island papers keeps on growing, and so does our project list. This week’s ad has the following update:

Current Group Projects:
Matia View on Orcas Island
Morning Light on Orcas Island
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:
Cayou Valley on Orcas Island
Harney View on Orcas Island
Panorama Place on San Juan Island
Garry Oak on San Juan Island
Portland Fair Area on San Juan Island
Brown Island on San Juan Island
Salmon Point on Lopez 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

Our to-do list represents hundreds of fiber connections and months worth of work for our crews. For those who have recently received service, their response has been great. Here is a note we received from a customer after we completed their fiber installation:

“We were concerned that the construction of the fiber network throughout our neighborhood and to our house would be the cause of a fair amount of inconvenience. But we found that that concern was unwarranted. We want to compliment OPALCO and Rock Island on how expeditious and pleasant their teams have been in all phases of the work. The digging of the trench from the middle mile box to our house was done not only in a single day but with great care not to disturb Meg’s garden. When they connected the cable from the NID box on the outside of the house to the modem/router on the inside, the Rock Island installers, Robbie Padbury and Conrad Schaller, were as courteous as they were efficient. And Ali Boe, Kelly Koral and the rest of the team at the Rock Island office have treated our inquiries and requests with smiles, professionalism and grace. All in all, it’s been a very good experience. Thanks again.”

– Joe Massey, Orcas Island

Thank you Joe! We’re glad we exceeded your expectations. That was our goal. We hope you and Meg are enjoying your blazing-fast Internet connection.

OK, now lets give you a great end-of-year update on the project as it sits today.

What were you up to this year, Rock Island?

Wow, what a year! Hard to believe we’re already in December. The early arrival – and later departure – of the sun this year sure helped the Rock Island construction teams. They were able to get a massive amount of work done countywide as a result. It was a great first year.

Here are some noteworthy highlights from 2015:

  • Our efforts began as a wholly-owned subsidiary of OPALCO with three charter employees in January
  • We purchased local ISP Rock Island and hired their entire team in February
  • We developed and delivered a plan to support our first-responders and emergency services groups countywide in April
  • We visited dozens of homes and businesses to discuss fiber and how to get it every single week
  • We created a plan and began to implement a 38 pole LTE wireless service throughout the county and connected dozens of people to it
  • We laid 192,000 feet, or 36.4 miles of fiber optic cable on 5 islands in the middle of the Salish Sea! Whew!
  • We built, turned on and lit up 10 active sites (fiber hubs) that will support thousands of fiber connections
  • We generated over 100 desktop neighborhood designs and pricing models for groups all over the county
  • We ended the year with 18 full-time team members in two offices on two islands
  • … and most importantly, connected roughly 400 customers to our fiber optic superhighway and 100 to out LTE Wireless!

We spent a lot of time hammering out processes and procedures while connecting customers during this inaugural year. We’re still working out some of the kinks, but things are getting more refined every day. We made plenty of mistakes to date for certain, but please know that we’ve used every one of them as a lesson to scale this project up to full capacity. We want to thank every new and existing customer, every person and group, every Fiber Group Organizer (FGO), HOA board, contractor and supporter who has helped us learn and grow; we couldn’t do this without your help and your patience, so thank you all for that!

We look forward to a very productive 2016. We plan on connecting 600 more homes and businesses to fiber and 1500 locations to LTE Wireless during the year; we hope you are one of them. Remember, starting the process begins by visiting our site, reading the “Get Fiber” pages and showing your interest via our interest form.

Does bringing fiber to my home increase my property value?

It sure does. In fact, a study by the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council Americas recently reported that bringing a gigabit fiber connection to your home will increase its value 3.1% the day it’s connected.

Let’s do some math! The median home value in San Juan County is $425,100 as of October of this year. That means that the median home will increase $13,178.10 in value instantly the day it gets fiber. Compare that to the average county cost of getting fiber, which is currently in the range of $1,500 – $6,000. Think about that, you double or triple your investment on day one. We’re not big fans of the phrase “no-brainer,” because any investment of time and money requires thought, but a return on investment this good in a pretty rare thing indeed.

Is Rock Island is still hiring?

Thanks for asking; yes we are! We’re currently looking for people with experience and a great attitude to join us in our mission.

Featured Job of the Month: Field Technician

We’re currently looking to fill two (2) Field Technician roles to help us perform a variety of home and businesses-related fiber construction projects. If you have some experience, are hard working, like getting things done and want to join our fiber movement, contact us today to learn more.

We’re also taking applications for:

  • Retail Salespeople
  • Tech Support Agents
  • Network Engineers

If you or someone you know wants to join a thriving technology company making a huge difference in San Juan County, drop us a line at: [email protected].

Monthly open meetings continue; Lopez in December

We decided to start hosting monthly meet-ups to provide 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 the local papers. Be sure to attend at least one if you are interested in learning more.

Last month’s meetings in Friday Harbor were a lot of fun! There was a good turnout to both sessions, and we thank all who joined for their participation. It’s always great to speak with members of our community.

Due to the holidays, we will only have one fiber meeting this month. This month’s meeting will be a little longer as a result. Please join us at the Lopez Island Library from 5:30 to 7:00 pm on December 9th. All are welcome and there is no cost to attend.

Here are the details:

Location: Lopez Island Library
Date: December 9th
Time: 5:30 – 7:00 pm
Address: 2225 Fisherman Bay Rd, Lopez Island, WA 98261
Phone: (360) 468-2265

As always, thank you for your time and support. We couldn’t do this without you. We will return in 2016 with the next edition of our monthly fiber update. In the meantime, have a happy and safe holiday and we’ll see you next year!

All our best,

The Rock Island Team