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Quick Fact Wireless Services

We follow all federal and industry guidelines for the health and safety of our members.

  • OPALCO’s system is built on a fiber optic backbone and uses various technologies to connect and monitor devices in the field:
    • Protection from faults on the system
    • Switching – this enables redundancy on our grid
    • Power Quality – finding issues on the power system for repair
    • Keeping Voltage Stable
    • Meters
    • Substation transformer monitoring
    • Submarine cable monitoring
    • Two way radios
    • Field outage management
    • Assistance for staff in the field
  • ┬áRock Island, OPALCO’s wholly-owned subsidiary, is also built on the fiber backbone and utilizes LTE (Long Term Evolution) wireless technologies to reach people where fiber either cannot reach, or has not yet reached. The wireless components are managed through a partnership with T-Mobile. The agreement with T-Mobile includes continual upgrades to equipment to keep our system robust and effective.
  • There have been questions and concerns about “5G” technology. The term “5G” is marketing speak for the “next” generation of technology evolution. The actual equipment, power strength, spectrum and signal type are not specific to any “5G” deployment: it simple means the technology is being updated.
  • The main concern we see about “5G” is the power and signal type, as is being deployed in dense, urban areas where large populations need to be served in a confined area. Here in the islands, our issues are about reaching through trees and across remote miles. The spectrum, technologies and equipment that address this problem are very different: lower band frequencies; smaller, more frequent and lower-power repeaters.
  • Rock Island’s goal is to get as many people and businesses as possible connected to fiber for the best, most reliable service, and to reduce the demand for wireless services. Fiber is a lasting solution that allows for seamless capacity upgrades at the source without adding or replacing equipment in the premise.
  • In every deployment of equipment and technology, OPALCO follows all federal and industry standards for the health and safety of our membership.

World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/radiation-5g-mobile-networks-and-health

FCC: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/wireless-devices-and-health-concerns

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