Having just participated in the multi-agency, emergency drill held in Deer Harbor on May 18, I now see a new and important reason to support OPALCO’s broadband initiative. Hither to I thought the main problem was that I am paying Centurylink for a service they do not deliver. I pay for 10 Megabytes per second, yet have never received more than 3 mbps, and most often receive between .5 and 1.5 mbps.
After this week’s emergency drill, where both cell phone and radio communications were hampered by lack of modern infrastructure as well as the island’s challenging geography, I now realize the broadband initiative is not about my ability to stream videos, but rather about improving all sorts of communications in the islands, including the ones we rely on most in emergencies. The proposal for the OPALCO broadband initiative states:
“OPALCO has developed a plan to build a new telecommunications infrastructure that would support improvements to our electric system, provide public safety benefits including better radio communications, provide cellular companies an easier way to expand cellular phone service locally, and deliver modern, upgradable broadband services: both home telephone and high-speed Internet services.”
I now believe the broadband initiative is an urgent matter of public safety for San Juan County. I hope lots of islanders will go to the OPALCO website and sign up.