October 12, 2022
The BroadbandBI network is counting down to its launch, and final preparations are well underway. Select end-user testing – designed to work out any remaining kinks – will commence shortly, and public subscriptions and service activation will officially roll out one Fiber Service Area (FSA) at a time, starting with FSAs 1 through 4. Activations will continue around the island in a north-west-east progression, as construction is completed in each area. The BroadbandBI.com website will soon be relaunched with new content and functionality for island residents and businesses to register and subscribe for service.
The complexity of this network deployment cannot be overemphasized, and the scope of work to complete this project extends far beyond Sertex crews installing fiber. The Town has three vendor partners – Sertex, Crocker Communications, and OSHEAN, as well as project manager, Mission Broadband. These partners, in coordination with RIDEM, CRMC, RIDOT, Verizon, BIPCO and others, have navigated supply chain issues, Covid staffing, environmental permitting, and pole replacements. Many mainland deployments have been significantly more delayed than BroadbandBI, partially because lead times on fiber are currently running up to a year longer than normal, with significant price escalations. The Town is appreciative of the sometimes unrecognized efforts put forward by all partners to keep this project moving steadily forward.
Extending Fiber to Every Inch of BI
In the final days of September, just weeks before the New Harbor Boat Basin Marina closes for the season, Sertex construction crews extended underground fiber conduit onto the dock in Great Salt Pond. A Sertex crew member attached fiber conduit along the dock’s deck and girders to the dockmaster’s shack. Construction workers wore flotation equipment and carefully timed installation to ensure safety, considering the weather and tide-related changes in water levels. This is just one example of the construction challenges of a coastal network deployment.
Here are ways Island residents and business can keep up with the latest network developments.
- Attend or follow Town Council Meetings – At the mid-month (second Wednesday) meeting, the Town Manager gives a monthly town update that usually includes a broadband discussion. Project manager Mission Broadband sometimes attends these meetings as well. The Town Council also takes action on items likes the Sertex Network Operator agreement and Crocker ISP Agreement; these discussions often include additional context about the progress, challenges and next steps in deployment and operational management of the island wide network.
- Attend or follow Broadband Committee Meetings – In addition to updates provided at these committee meetings, there is extensive opportunity for questions and/or public comment.
- Follow News and Updates from BroadbandBI.com – These updates are usually also published on the bulletin board and in the BI Times.
BroadbandBI Equipment and Subscriptions
A display of BroadbandBI interior and exterior equipment will soon be available for viewing at the Town Hall building. Network subscriptions are not yet open and equipment installations are not yet being scheduled. There is no further action that Block Islanders who have registered their property need to take at this time. Subscriptions will open by FSA in coming weeks. As each FSA opens for subscriptions, property owners in that FSA will be sent an email alert about next steps to take.
Contact Us for More Information
If you have any questions about Block Island Broadband network project construction or your installation, please email Sertex customer service with your lot/fire number please email Sertex customer service.