Islands' Sounder


Get communications into 21st century | Letter

November 19, 2013 · 3:24 PM

In Deer Harbor, as in other parts of Orcas, there is either sub par or no cellular service.

From all reports, the exercise a few months ago in emergency preparedness in Deer Harbor was a disaster, mostly due to the inability to communicate.

While not a daily occurrence, the power outages and telephone outages on Orcas leading to Internet outages could result in a disaster.

What will it take to get the communications on Orcas Island into this century? An emergency with the phones, the power, and the internet gone coupled with no cell service will result in a death that could have been avoided, or an event nobody will want to talk about. All the blathering and the studies and the gathering of data will not enable a real life and death event to be solved.

I was off island last week. I could not call home in Deer Harbor. I could not call home in Deer Harbor on my cell phone. Half of my emails home did not get through. Rock Island reported that they offered equipment to CenturyLink to help bridge the internet that was still operating at half its capability, but CenturyLink refused the help.

It’s way past a reasonable time to get action. Why do we deny the existence of a shadow of disaster looming over us?

Mike Coughlin

Deer Harbor


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