General Manager Foster Hildreth announced today that Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) has acquired Rock Island Communications. Rock Island will merge its staff, infrastructure and operations with OPALCO to deliver modern, scalable and reliable broadband services for homes and businesses in San Juan County. “The full transition may take a little time,” said Hildreth, “but we can hit the ground running, thanks to the tireless efforts of Gerry Lawlor, who will serve as the Executive Vice President of Rock Island.”
“This is a win-win scenario for all of us in San Juan County,” said Mike Greene, founder of Rock Island. “We have the expertise and a long history in the community, and OPALCO has the infrastructure backbone to take us to the next level.” Mike will continue to manage the system as Vice President of Technology. “The sale satisfied all my criteria,” said Greene, who has entertained a number of offers. “This acquisition meets my personal and professional goals, protects the interest of our employees, and benefits the community with an exciting new line of services.”
For existing Rock Island and OPALCO customers, the transition is planned as seamless: the same excellent, local customer service and increasingly faster, more reliable Internet services. Rock Island Communications will build on its strong foundation to provide several new types of services. Learn more at https://rockisland.com.
Rock Island’s Friday Harbor office and retail store on Court Street will remain open. A new office at 208 Enchanted Forest Road, adjacent to the Orcas Rental & Saw shop, will open on Orcas Island. Each location will feature a “Giga Bar,” a fun, interactive area for members of the community to experience true high speed Internet including streaming TV services demonstrations, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Micro Cells for cellular connection and more.
OPALCO, as the parent company, is providing the funding for start-up costs and working capital for the new entity. The business plan (available at www.opalco.com) projects a positive return on the total investment by 2020. After Rock Island Communications has met that goal, the business will grow at the rate of member demand, potentially creating a new revenue stream for OPALCO. This short-term investment in a long-term solution will contribute to our cooperative’s financial health and improve our quality of life in San Juan County.
“I thank the OPALCO Board of Directors for their thoughtful decision making,” said Hildreth. “We now have the team and resources in place – we’re off and running. I’m very excited to see this project accelerate and grateful to the team who are working so hard to build a local and sustainable solution.”
Lawlor urges patience as the new company makes the transition. “For current Rock Island or OPALCO’s Island Network customers, no action is necessary. Stay tuned for further announcements and service offerings as Rock Island Communications gears up our high-speed Internet and phone services and as we deploy solutions beyond connectivity for homes and businesses.” Go to https://rockisland.com/ for more information on our neighborhood collaborations, construction efforts and costs associated with development and services.