The entire County is suffering from the effects of a break in the optical cable running from Lopez Island to San Juan Island. San Juan Island is hardest hit, with widespread phone and internet outages. At least Orcas and Lopez have internet. Sources say that the cable fault lies 5,000 feet off of Fisherman Bay between Lopez and San Juan Island. Sources also say that repairs may take 3 weeks or more. CenturyLink is not committing to a timetable for repair. It may require the laying of a whole new cable rather than a simple repair of a damaged section of cable. Apparently, the break did not occur because of a dragged anchor or something similar. The cause is believed to be the result of wear and tear from currents ... tidal and otherwise.
Kudos to the San Juan County Library, the Bean, Rock Island, and others who are sharing their Wi-Fi capability ... kudos also to Ham radio operators, Fire & EMS ... and to islanders generally, who are helping one another with neighborliness and grace.
Thumbs down, however, to the County Office of Emergency Management, to CenturyLink, and to our elected officials who have provided precious little information ... and even less leadership. Why isn't CenturyLink on TV saying that they will be working 24-hours a day until this issue is resolved? Why aren't our elected leaders or the County Office of Emergency Management on radio and TV saying that they will do everything possible to get San Juan County open for business again? When a bridge collapsed in Skagit County, the Governor declared a state of emergency and it was a major topic of discussion at our Council. But vital communications for business (and life) go down for an indefinite period of time ... and we hear practically nothing?
And there are a lot of unanswered questions, like why is Orcas affected if the break is between San Juan Island and Lopez Island. For that matter, why is Lopez affected at all?
We're in the dark in more ways than one.