Mainland construction to cause San Juan Islands communications outage April 12, 13

  • Tue Mar 27th, 2018 12:14pm
  • News
Mainland construction to cause San Juan Islands communications outage April 12, 13

Submitted by Rock Island Communications

From 9 p.m., April 12 to 6 a.m., April 13, San Juan County is going to experience a county-wide communications outage.

The 48-count fiber-optic cable carrying all data and voice traffic from San Juan County for all providers is going to be relocated just south of Anacortes at SR-20 and Spur (Sharpes Corner).

WAVE Broadband will be shutting down and re-routing this fiber cable as they implement a traffic change in this area. Watch a video about the construction below.

Washington State Department of Transportation’s official release can be found at

WAVE Broadband, the owner of the cable, will be performing the work. They have given Rock Island some very vague ideas as to the exact timing of the work. Rock Island staff are currently unsure when the cable will be cut, and which critical fiber links will be connected prior to the work window closure.

Rock Island Staff hope the actual outage will be well within the nine-hour window, but given the nature of the proposed project, everyone should be prepared to see severely constrained services for most of the outage window.

Rock Island will be able to process some communications via microwave links from Mount Constitution to Bellingham, and from North Blakely to an LTE site on Lummi Island. Staff are also working with voice partners T-Mobile, Ooma, Jive and to see how they can maintain some level of cellular and digital voice communications around the county during this period.

Why is there no other fiber path in Anacortes for redundancy?

This question has been a concern for Rock Island for some time now. For over 20 years all carriers (CenturyLink, Rock Island, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, Zito Media, etc.) have relied on this one fiber path traveling through Fidalgo Island. Rock Island has been working with the City of Anacortes and WSDOT to develop a secondary fiber path from the west side of Fidalgo Island all the way to Mount Vernon. This will give islanders full carrier and path redundancy and isolate them from problems like this in the future.

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