SB 822 Squashed by Assembly Committee

On May 30th of this year, the California Senate approved Senate Bill 822, a bill that aimed to reinstate the net neutrality regulations repealed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last December. Today, June 20, 2018; the California net neutrality bill was gutted in the Assembly committee meeting.

The California net neutrality bill that advocates hailed as the “gold standard” for Internet protections, was “eviscerated,” its chief backer, Sen. Scott Weiner said, in a committee hearing Wednesday morning.

The Senate Bill would have barred ISPs from blocking, throttling or engaging in paid prioritization. SB822 would have also prevented ISPs that don’t abide the prohibitions in the bill from contracting with California state and local governments.

However, in an 8-0 vote, the state Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee adopted amendments to SB822, which removed the provisions that would have given the state the strongest prohibitions against discriminatory treatment of Internet traffic in the country.

Among its recommendations were to allow a debated ISP practice called “zero rating,” where some websites and apps don’t count against a consumer’s data allowance. Opponents view zero rating as a backdoor way of discriminating against online services that don’t sign on with free-data deals with broadband and wireless companies.

Race Communications was in full support of the bill and is saddened by the outcome of today’s committee meeting. Our company will continue to maintain a pro net-neutrality policy and hopes that our peers will continue to do the same.

Sources:
https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/California-net-neutrality-bill-eviscerated-13011048.php

All systems are go in Occidental, CA!

In late August of 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a grant for construction of the “Gigafy Occidental” Project for fiber-to-the-home, high-speed broadband Internet to over 400 homes in Occidental, CA

As of today, the first Occidental customers were turned up and are experiencing what being gigafied really means.  One customer described the arrival of high-speed internet as “beyond strange and wonderful”.

 

The amount of interest from the area has been great, and Race looks forward to gigafying the rest of Occidental in the coming weeks. Installation calls are being made daily to those who have placed an order, and we encourage anyone who hasn’t ordered yet, to do so!

Race provides a true fiber-to-the-home network capable of download and upload speeds up to 1,000Mbps. The “Gigafy Me” plan starts at just $60/month with the more affordable “Basic Broadband+” available at just $25/month. Race also offers phone and TV services as optional add-ons.

What does it take to get installed?

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning. From start to finish there are 4 main phases of our process, each with its own sub-steps and processes.

  1. Research and Exploration.
    We spend a lot of time in this phase, developing a construction plan for the communities we are researching and working with local authorities on permitting and other issues.
  2. Design.
    We use the data gathered to create a map of where we can build based on existing infrastructure and obstacles.
  3. Construction.
    This is the step you see the most. Once our plans are complete, our crews get straight to work laying and splicing miles of fiber.
  4. Sign up and Installation.
    Once our construction is almost complete, we will release our order form for your region, and you can choose the services you want for your home or business. This will initiate the installation process which has its own steps.

A Preliminary Site Survey is Conducted

Race field engineers survey homes throughout a project area (for example Occidental or Phelan), house by house and make an initial determination as to whether a home is an aerial or underground installation.

The Steps to bringing you Fiber:

Step 1: Designing the network. At this stage, we determine the path and size of fiber cables in our network as well as identifying the size and location of connection points (where homes and businesses will hook up to). This is a long process and can take anywhere from 6-12 months to complete depending on the area size.

Step 2: Pole licensing and ordering materials. Utility poles are owned by telephone and power companies. Third party users like RACE must apply and pay a fee to attach. This is also the time we go ahead and order the materials needed for the project.

Step 3: Make-ready. This is one of the most time-consuming and expensive parts of the process accounting for up to 40% of the cost. The make-ready process consists of making room for the new lines on poles, which could involve moving cable TV up, the phone company down, or both. If the pole is too small or too full, it may need to be replaced. Replacing poles is expensive due to the involved process of setting the new pole and transferring all of the phone, TV, and power lines.

Step 4: Hang strand on utility poles. Fiber optic cables need to be supported by a steel cable, or “strand.” Installers in bucket trucks will drill a hole through the pole and install a bolt that attaches the steel strand to the pole. Then they hang the strand on the pole.

Step 5: Lash fiber cable to strand. The fiber-optic cables are attached to the strand by being lashed on with wire. This is done using a cable lasher which is pulled along the length of the fiber cable and strand.

Step 6. Add splice and connection points. Splice cases and slack loops are added at various points along the network. The splice case is where each section of the fiber optic cable is joined together, while the slack loop provides some extra fiber cable to facilitate restoration of service in the event the cable is damaged.

Step 7. Splice fiber segments. To join lengths of fiber together, a technician heats up the ends of the fiber strands and fuses them together to form a single strand.

We Call Customers that have submitted an inquiry
This information is handed over to our communications team who will reach out to homeowners who have inquired about Race services.

To Submit an inquiry, go to https://www.race.com/inquiry/ .

Step 8: Install drop cables. Once the network backbone is constructed, small fiber cables are connected to the backbone and the customer’s building. These drops can be aerial or in a conduit, depending upon how the customer’s current utilities reach their home.

Step 9: Install electronics and light your network. Specialized electronics are needed at both ends of the fiber-optic cable to “light” the fiber and provide a usable Internet connection. This includes Optical Network Terminal (“ONT”) at the customer’s home or office. ONT’s typically provide multiple places to connect Internet devices and phones. Once the devices are placed, engineers program and activate the service so that it can be connected to your computer or Wi-Fi router.

 

Another successful Rocket Launch is in the books!

Wednesday morning, the Tehachapi Municipal Airport filled with more than 700 fourth and fifth graders. 2018 marks the 9th consecutive year for the event.

For the past couple weeks, the students worked to design and build rockets. Tuesday, they gathered to launch the rockets, competing to see whose went the highest. They also had to write essays, create a banner and recite a chant for the competition.


Make sure to check out this great video that features Jim Miller, VP of Sales and Marketing & Supporter of the Intermediate Space Challenge.

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What is affecting your Wi-Fi speeds and what can you do about it?

You recently got installed with the latest in Internet technology, and you are officially “Gigafied”, but what gives? Why are your speed tests not showing 1,000Mbps? If your home Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to be functioning as well as you think it should be, there are some factors which could be affecting your connection. Before you call Race or a professional, lets talk about some of the things you can try to optimize your Wi-Fi connection:

  1. Your equipment – Saving power can be a good thing, but when your computer is running on battery or “power saving” mode, it can affect your bandwidth. Check your computer’s settings and make sure your device is not in power saving mode, and try to stay plugged in as much as possible. Also be aware that your computer or device may not be capable of gigabit speeds. A lot of laptops have a cap of 100Mbps due to their chip set.
  2. Distance – while thick walls and obstructions can also be an issue, the distance from your router can be just as much of a problem. If you are trying to connect a large home, it might be a good idea to invest in a signal booster or secondary router. Here’s a rule of thumb: Just by doubling the distance between router and client you can expect throughput to shrink to one-third of its original value. A wireless repeater, which will set you back $20-$100, should boost your signal noticeably.
  3. Obstructions – Thick walls, large bookshelves and stairs can also affect your speed. Try to place your router in a central, yet unobstructed location for optimal results.
  4. Other networks close by – An area with a large amount of different Wi-Fi networks may suffer from poor signal strength because of all the conflicting transmissions. This may be the case in office buildings or apartment complexes. Try switching to a different transmission such as the 5.0 network that Race offers.
  5. Appliance interference – Did you know your microwave could be making your internet slow? That sounds strange, but it can be the case sometimes that household appliances operating on the same frequency as your router could slow down your Wi-Fi. Check to see whether your connection is stronger when appliances such as cordless phones, microwaves, and security camera are off.
  6. Who is the bandwidth hog? – Many people share their Wi-Fi with family members, roommates, or colleagues, but keep in mind that their internet activities could be affecting your speed too. If someone on your Wi-Fi network is hogging bandwidth by constantly downloading or streaming, this could be a reason why your connection has slowed
  7. Firmware or driver issues – An often forgotten problem (that is easy to remedy) is outdated firmware. Make sure your router’s firmware is up-to-date.  Expect bandwidth, feature set and resiliency to signals to increase with the first few firmware updates.

Keep in mind that Wi-Fi speeds won’t ever hit 1,000Mbps as most computers on the market are unable to handle the speed, but you should be able to consistently see speeds of 200-600Mbps depending on your gear and number of users in your home.