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Home » Archives » March 2018 » OPALCO's Rock Island Offers GIGABITs

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03/25/2018: "OPALCO's Rock Island Offers GIGABITs"

Rock Island Communications, the only provider of fiber-optic broadband in San Juan County, announced last Wednesday that gigabit Internet (1,000 Mbps) is now available to the home.

“When we started our efforts just over three years ago, the average download speed in the county was between 2 - 4 Mbps with about .5 Mbps upload. It was dismal at best here, and well under the FCC’s definition of broadband at 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up,” said Gerry Lawlor, Executive Vice President of Rock Island. “To think that well over a thousand locations in the county on fiber can access gig Internet now is nothing short of amazing.”

The company has increased speeds across its entire fiber-optic rate card, offering a range of symmetric rate plans with speeds from 30 Mbps, 75 Mbps, 500 Mbps to Gigabit. The prices for full-time residents still range from $80 to $180 per month, but now include up to $60/month of value-added products and services including a managed mesh network Wi-Fi system, Rock Island email addresses, cyber-security coverage for devices, and cloud backup and storage. Bonus items vary based on rate plan selection.

Any home fiber customer can upgrade to a Gigabit plan now by calling Rock Island at 360-378-5884 or by emailing A plan change is simple, and speed changes take about 20 minutes to take effect.

In 2015 Rock Island set out to build a fiber network that would extend to homes and businesses in San Juan County. After three short years the company has roughly 10% of the county on fiber, and a diverse network with 20 times more capacity back to the mainland than it did when it began.

“The company’s network has more resiliency and reliability than ever before,” said Foster Hildreth, President of Rock Island and General Manager of OPALCO. “The additional 144 fiber strands in “George,” our new submarine power cable that runs from San Juan to Lopez, played a part in this milestone moment. We have built the foundation of a great network that will be in place for decades to come.”

The combination of Rock Island’s $1,500 Construction Incentive and direct customer investment has played a large part in the success of this community venture. The Construction Incentive was originally planned to end over the next few years, but due to the success of the program, Rock Island and OPALCO leadership have decided to maintain the Construction Incentive at $1,500 for this next phase of fiber rollout.

Groups and individuals can learn more about getting connected to Rock Island’s fiber online at

About Rock Island Communications

Rock Island Communications provides modern, scalable and reliable Internet services to homes and businesses in San Juan County. They are a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orcas Power & Light Cooperative. For more information, visit

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