The islands will experience a county-wide communications outage from 9 p.m. on April 12 to 6 a.m. on April 13.
The 48-count fiber-optic cable carrying all data and voice traffic from San Juan County for all providers is going to be relocated just south of Anacortes at SR-20 and Spur (Sharpes Corner).
WAVE Broadband has given Rock Island some very vague ideas as to the exact timing of the work. Rock Island is currently unsure when the cable will be cut exactly, and which critical fiber links will be connected prior to the work window close.
Rock Island employees hope the actual outage will be well within the 9-hour window, but given the nature of the proposed project, we should all be prepared to see severely constrained services for most of the outage window.
Rock Island will be able to process some communications via microwave links from Mt. Constitution to Bellingham, and from North Blakely to an LTE site on Lummi Island. It is also working with our voice partners T-Mobile, Ooma and Jive, to see how we can maintain some level of cellular and digital voice communications around the county during this period.
Why are there no other fiber path in Anacortes for redundancy?
This question has been a concern for Rock Island for some time now. For more than 20 years all carriers (CenturyLink, Rock Island, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Zito Media, etc.) have relied on this one fiber path traveling through Fidalgo Island. Rock Island has been working with the City of Anacortes and WSDOT to develop a secondary fiber path from the west side of Fidalgo Island all the way to Mt. Vernon. This will give the islands full carrier and path redundancy and protect from future problems.