Fiber cables run from Clinton to points west

For the first time, residents on Hat Island may soon log-on to the Internet and enjoy something other Whidbey Island Internet users take for granted, high speed Web surfing.

Starting yesterday, a ship began lying fiber optic cable across the 2 1/2 miles of Puget Sound that separate Clinton and Hat Island. The project, undertaken by Hat Island Telephone Company parent Whidbey Telecom, could lead to the first high speed Internet on Hat Island, said Julia DeMartini, the company’s vice-president.

Fiber optic cables are filled with bundles of glass threads and are coated with plastic and other materials for protection. Because fiber optics transmit by light, information can be transferred at the speed of light, which is faster than information can travel on a copper phone line.

Fiber optic cable will also be laid down on the more than 6-mile route between Clinton and Everett. Since the route already has a fiber optic cable laid down, DeMartini said Whidbey Telecom decided to lay more cable as part of the company’s future planning .

She said having numerous fiber optic cables — called roots — would ensure that customers receive continuous high-speed Internet even if a line is accidentally cut. The new cable allows Whidbey Telecom to provide service for future island residents

“It’s for the purpose of increased capacity and greater reliability,” DeMartini said. “To provide another level of comfort.”

Once the cable is laid across Puget Sound, a buried fiber optic cable will be run from Brighton Beach to Whidbey Telecom telephone poles to carry the signal.

The capability to do the same thing will occur at Hat Island if Whidbey Telecom decides to put in a high speed Internet system.

DeMartini declined to say how many customers her company has on Hat Island, or how much it will cost to lay down the cable.

According to a 2003 phone book, there are 95 people who have listed phone numbers on Hat Island.

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