BlackRock Cable to offer fiber optic access for city

Published on Thu, Jul 14, 2005 by eg Olson

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Black Rock Cable to offer fiber optic access for city

By Meg Olson

Blaine city council approved a franchise agreement this past Monday allowing Black Rock Cable to build a fiber optic network within the city.

The agreement gives Black Rock the go-ahead to serve local businesses and government agencies with what owner Bob Warshawer says is a very secure, very efficient, but very empty conduit for customers’ data. “This is a pipe the customers can use,” he said describing the system, which is also referred to as dark fiber since it only “lights up” when customers use it to send data from one location to another. “Black Rock just puts in the channel through which the information will go,” explained city manager Gary Tomsic at the July 11 city council meeting.

“They are not the service provider.” Other service providers, such as a wireless company, could rent cable space from them, Warshawer said.
Warshawer said the company already has six customers signed up in Blaine to use the network. “Our customers are basically businesses with multiple locations,” he said. Warshawer explained clients could use the system, which now extends through much of the I-5 corridor north of Everett and throughout Whatcom, Skagit, Island and Snohomish counties, to quickly connect to different locations worldwide.

As part of the franchise agreement, Blaine recieve 5 percent of Black Rock’s gross revenues in the city and will also get a connection to the system. “Currently we have city hall and public works connected but we lack redundancy and a connection to Bellingham,” police chief Mike Haslip said. “One of the advantages for the city here will be much greater access to state and local records.”

Warshawer said his crews will be in Blaine within two months to begin laying cable along utility poles and underground. “There will be marginal disruption,” he said, adding that the company would build cable to customers as needed. In future, the network can be extended to meet demand. “This will be good for this community and the base for all sorts of other things people will figure out later,” he said. “Our goal is to take this corner of Washington and have a network that will connect any business to any other.”