Subject: Bob Warshawer, president of Black Rock Cable, a locally owned company providing high-speed fiber-optic connectivity to areas in Northwest Washington.
What he said then: When the BBJ spoke to Warshawer in 2003, Warshawer said Black Rock Cable was well on its way to laying fiber-optic cable around Whatcom and Skagit Counties. At the time, the company boasted 18 customers and 23 miles of cable in Whatcom County.
“The density is here,” he said. “We should be done with Whatcom County in six months, Skagit in 18 months and then we’ll make the decision from there about how far south we want to grow.”
He also stated at the time that Bellingham had been slow to pick up the trend of fiber optic networks. By early July of that year, the company was bringing in around $12,000 per month, and Warshawer said he expected that number to be around $25,000 by the end of 2003.
“The long-term goal is still to hook up everyone, to have fiber to the home,” Warshawer said. “I’m not sure if we’ll ever have the money to do that, but that’s the goal, and I think it’s a great idea.”
What he says now: According to Warshawer, things have gone pretty much to plan. Today, the business has connected to 450 business locations and put down 380 miles of cable in Whatcom and Skagit counties.
“We’ve reached our goal of wanting to be within three blocks of 85 percent of the businesses (in Whatcom County), and we are,” he said.
They have also expanded farther south, as planned.
“We expanded into Skagit County,” he said. “We have fiber and lots of customers in Sedro-Woolley, Anacortes, Mt. Vernon, Burlington, La Conner and all over the county.”
The business is now looking to Snohomish County.
“I think the Snohomish County market is two or three times bigger than Whatcom and Skagit counties put together, and we’re actively pursuing that at the moment,” he said. “We hope to duplicate what we accomplished in Whatcom County in Snohomish County within two or two-and-a-half years.” He said the company is also looking at other areas in and outside the state.
Company income has increased dramatically as well, he said, totaling nearly $200,000 per month.
“We built the main backbones, and we’re still adding — probably between Whatcom and Skagit County — about 10 locations per month,” he said.
He also thinks the Bellingham market has picked up considerably.
“I think Bellingham is at the forefront right now,” he said. “All of Whatcom County is totally wired. Any business can get a very large fiber-optic connection between their locations or to the Internet anywhere. That’s almost unique.”
The company’s long-term goal is still to break into the residential market, which it has not done yet. For now, it continues to gaze south.
“I just feel like it’s been a wonderful opportunity. It’s really exciting to be a part of connecting businesses, and life is pretty good.”