Orcas Power and Light Cooperative & Rock Island Communications

Why is this Case Important? The cost-sharing approach Rock Island has adopted, whereby groups or associations are assembled to share the network’s middle-mile deployment costs and individual homeowners or business operators pay last-mile costs, has numerous advantages over more conventional infrastructure investment models. In OPALCO’s case, it is responsive to the high cost of deploying broadband. Put simply, the more people who share middle-mile costs, the lower the average group member’s share becomes. There is something more fundamental going on here though. In Hildreth’s words, Rock Island’s approach transforms the narrative from “Let us sell you a service” to “Let’s build this together.” Indeed, customers have already funded about $2.5 million of middle-mile investment to date.