Dozens protest for fiber-optic link as Qwest CEO visits Silverton
From left, Cynthia Chertos, Janice Fetchenhier, Kathy Dewitz,
Carolyn Wilcox and Carol Chase protest outside Town Hall on
Tuesday afternoon as Qwest CEO Charles Ward met with
Operation Link-Up representatives regarding the lack of a
fiber-optic link to town.
Dozens of Silverton residents greeted the chief executive officer of telecom giant Qwest with shouts of “Give us a link, or we’ll go extinct!” Tuesday afternoon in a raucous protest over the town’s lack of a fiber-optic link to the outside world.
But Charles Ward, Qwest CEO, appeared unmoved, saying his firm has met its obligation under a state contract to provide broadband service to Silverton through a microwave link instead.
“The digital radio has more than adequate capacity,” Ward said. He waved fliers advertising Qwest broadband service to those protesting the lack of the fiber-optic link to town.
After the protest, Ward said he understands the emphasis on fiber-optics.
“We promote fiber optics for faster Internet,” Ward said. “But this is about bandwidth and that’s what we have satisfied (under the state contract).”
Ward said he had a “cordial discussion” with representatives of Operation Link-Up, the local group battling Qwest over the fiber-optic line. He said the cost to bridging the 16-mile fiber-optic gap is prohibitive.