Broadband Study Update

As reported a month ago, OPALCO is on the home stretch in its year-long effort to explore the feasibility of expanding our existing fiber-optic network to create a telecommunications infrastructure that would serve San Juan County. The goals of the Initiative are to:

  1. Upgrade our electrical system by adding Smart Grid capabilities that will improve reliability and help members save money on energy costs;
  2. Improve the communication system for local public safety first responders, including OPALCO, Sheriff, Fire, and EMS;
  3. Provide our members with access to high-speed Internet service at speeds of at least 10 Mbps, fostering new opportunities for economic development; and
  4. Create infrastructure that would make it easier for wireless carriers to expand cellular coverage in the County, including 911 service.

OPALCO‘s Board of Directors will review a proposed business plan at the October 19th board meeting in Friday Harbor. A decision to move forward or not is expected before year end; the details of how to move forward, however, would be developed with member feedback and additional public forums in early 2013. As always, co-op members are welcome to attend this OPALCO board meeting. We expect the business planning materials will be posted at in November.