Rock Island Update

Posted April 12, 2016 at 5:42 am by

Ger­ry Lawlor of Rock Island Com­mu­ni­ca­tions shares this update with you…

Rock Island Heads into Spring at Full Stride

rock-island-opalcoThank 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

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