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04/30/2003 - Terabyte Triangle Welcomes CSK Communications

“Spokane has more fiber than any city in the whole world,” says Jim Burke, of CSK Communications, Inc. He knows because he and his partner Dan Stutzke helped design and implement the original Washington Water Power (WWP) optical fiber network in the Terabyte Triangle and the region.

Burke and Stutzke were employees of WWP when they came up with an idea, a business plan, and a design to create an optical fiber network around the Inland Northwest region. WWP embraced and backed the idea. Later with a name change, Avista Fiber was formed, and the network was built. Burke was the chief engineer and Stutzke was project manager. The two also worked with Dennis Schweikhardt of School District 81, and Dick Hol of SCC to build Spokane’s EMAN --- still considered one of the best in the world.

“We’re really proud of the original network design,” says Burke, “it has withstood the test of time.” The original design provided for efficient connectivity and was traceable. Thanks to the vicissitudes of business, Columbia Fiber is now the entity carrying out the original business plan and bringing optical fiber to the end user.

Based on their years of experience at Avista, Burke and Stutzke formed CSK Communications. “It took the better part of our first year in business to conquer the red tape and become fully licensed and certified in both Washington and Idaho,” says Burke, ”but we’re rolling now.” CSK is working with the Moscow, Idaho school district to create an EMAN similar to Spokane’s. The network design is flexible enough to allow the efficient addition of customers in the City of Moscow. CSK is also working with the University of Idaho Research Park to provide connectivity to VPnet.

CSK’s engineering services include “inside the physical plant” design and implementation as well as their “outside the plant” services. They are a licensed CLEC, and they work with developers to create ‘plug-and-go’ facilities. Many companies have a lot of expertise in communications systems, but they lack infrastructure expertise for high-speed and broadband, according to Burke. CSK can provide that infrastructure. For example, CSK worked with RAHCO to provide the fiber optic transmission capability for their manufacturing robots.

Burke and Stutzke’s dream for CSK is to help their region grow and develop through making affordable optical fiber systems available to anyone. They believe in the community development model of doing business, and that their success will come through a focus on community development. “If the community is healthy, my business is healthy,” explains Burke.

CSK recently moved into the SIRTI incubator at 665 N Riverpoint Boulevard. SIRTI was one of the first buildings connected to the original fiber network. “SIRTI seems like a gift to us,” says Burke. “They’re wonderful to work with--- encouraging and helpful--- they’re helping us fulfill our dream.”

For more information about CSK Communications, Inc. go to,

Billie Moreland
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