Internet provider to study undersea cable

File photo

Catalina Broadband Solutions (CBBS) told the City Council that the company was looking at the financial and technical feasibility of installing 26-plus miles of undersea fiber optic cable from Catalina to the mainland to improve connectivity.

Internet service is a long-standing and ongoing issue with Island residents and visitors. Last year, a council member described it as a public safety issue.

Michael Piasecki, senior vice president of business operations, told the City Council on Nov. 2 that the after the study is done, the company will work out the cable routs, permitting and costs.

According to Piasecki, the study is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

He said the study would help CBBS and stakeholders to make decisions about budgets, funding resources and potential partnerships to make the undersea cable project possible. Study “deliverables” will include the engineering of the submarine cable and landing sites on both the Island and the mainland.

The cable routes will have to be selected to avoid environmental and military issues, as well as undersea geography.

Piasecki said permitting would be one of the largest drivers of the project schedule. The step after the technical and financial feasibility study will be a look at the feasibility of getting permits from government agencies, according to Piasecki.

After the permit study will come what Piasecki called a “desktop study” to finalize the cable routes. Piasecki said that part of the project would take about four months.

Councilmember Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy said that when she moved here 15 years ago, this was a hot topic. Cassidy and Councilmember Lisa Lavelle are members of the council’s Island Connectivity Group.