Fiber relocation April 12 will cause communication outage in the islands

During Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) construction project at Sharpe's Corner on Fidalgo Island, the 48-count fiber-optic cable carrying all data and voice traffic from San Juan County for all providers is going to be relocated. WAVE broadband will be shutting down and re-routing this fiber cable.


 


According to Rock Island, the San Juan Islands will experience a county-wide communications outage from 9 p.m. Thursday, April 12 to 6 a.m. Friday, April 13, 2018. WAVE Broadband, the owner of the cable, will be performing the work. Rock Island is unsure exactly when the cable will be cut and which critical fiber links will be connected prior to the work window close.

Rock Island says they hope the actual outage will be well within the 9-hour window, but given the nature of the proposed project, everyone should be prepared to see severely constrained services for most of the nine-hour outage window.

Rock Island will be able to process some communications via microwave links from Mt. Constitution to Bellingham, and from North Blakely to a LTE site on Lummi island. They are also working with their voice partners T-Mobile, Ooma, Jive 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 more than 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 Mt. Vernon. This will provide full carrier and path redundancy and isolate the islands from problems like this in the future.

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