Hey, can you hear me now? | Editorial

There was a remarkable lack of whining and recrimination in San Juan County last week when telephone, cellular and internet communications were interrupted by a yet-to-be-identified failure in the underwater fiber-optic cable that carries CenturyLink communications between Lopez and San Juan islands.

To be sure, nobody was thrilled to be cut off from friends, family and business dealings by an out-of-the-blue event in the depths of San Juan Channel. The Journal had to move its entire office, computers and all, to Orcas Island for several days; numerous businesses had to scramble to serve their customers and re-open communications channels with suppliers and banks; long-standing appointments and events were cancelled or postponed.

But once again, a community responded to make sure we remain safe, secure and healthy. And we were reminded again that “we’re all in this together.”

We were also reminded why competitive communications companies are important. ZITO Media and Rock Island Technology Solutions were available to instal alternative communications pathways; Orcas Power and Light was available to make some of their broadband capacity and infrastructure available to CenturyLink; and CenturyLink itself could muster the people, equipment and technical expertise to bring back connectivity within days.

The Journal urges business, political and community leaders to put our technological future back on the current agenda. Let’s make sure we don’t let outdated technology or thinking turn our archipelago in the Salish Sea into a backwater.


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