Face to Face with Race: Raul Flores

Raised in sunny So-Cal, Raul Flores oversees all of Race’s technicians and trains them on the best methods to install our fiber optic product. Every day, he oversees scheduling to make sure our installs are done on time. Read more to find out about how Raul spends his days at Race.

How long have you been at Race?

I’ve been at Race for three years.

What is your official title?

I am the Field Manager.

So what exactly do you do?

I basically supervise all the field technicians. My day consists of overseeing the technicians and installs. I handle their payroll and I also manage our fleet vehicles. I oversee 7 technicians. I also stay on top of registration and maintenance for the Race Vehicles.

I work a lot with Customer Service.

How it all works is Customer Services schedules appointments with the customers. They will assign a technician that’s available and they will assign the tech a particular area because there are five areas in our Southern California region. Usually what I will do is look at the schedule to see how it is setup and if I feel I need to move someone around, I will contact Customer Service and see if we can make the changes.

I mostly do scheduling, paperwork administrative duties.

What has been your favorite project while working at Race?

My favorite project…I guess it has to be when I do data projects; I also enjoy training the technicians. The majority of the installers have never done this line of work before.

What three words would you use to describe working at Race?

Interesting, different, and exciting.

Bonus Question: What is the first thing you would buy if you hit the lottery?

The first thing I would do if I hit the lottery is, pay off my house [laughs]. I’m not really too materialistic like buying cars and clothes. If anything, I would buy another house to rent. Eventually, that money will run out so I would have some sort of income coming in.

 

 

We Vote NO – Race Supports Net Neutrality

There might be some new changes with your Internet soon.

On Thursday a 2-1 vote led by the FCC, the Commission voted to propose a new review of the rules, with the goal of loosening the regulations on the industry.

The proposal also suggests repealing the “general conduct” rule that allows the FCC to investigate business practices of Internet providers that it suspects may be anti-competitive.

The proposal also aims to ban the blocking and slowing of websites, as well as the rule forbidding ISPs from charging websites extra fees.

“Today we propose to repeal utility-style regulation of the Internet,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to the Washington Post. “The evidence strongly suggests this is the right way to go.”

The vote enables the FCC to begin taking public feedback on its proposal, which could be revised and put to a final vote later this year.

The term net neutrality has come to encapsulate the idea that Internet providers such as Comcast or Verizon should treat all web traffic equally and fairly.

This means they can’t block access to any websites or apps, and can’t meddle with loading speeds.

At Race, this vote isn’t something we’re for. We believe the Internet is a freedom that has incredible power to change our daily lives. We feel that consumers should be able to visit any site that they choose and use the Internet freely. Whether you decide to stream Netflix or shop on Amazon, consumers should be able to stream without the fear of having their speeds throttled or blocked from visiting certain websites.

“The internet has transformed how we live our lives and how our voices are heard,” said Carlos Alcantar, Vice President of Technology at Race Communications. “It must be protected.”

For more information about the vote, see here.

 

 

 

Face to Face with Race: Eva Borras

When you get your welcome call from Race Communications, have you ever wondered who’s on the other end? Most likely, you’re speaking with San Francisco native Eva Borras, who loves giving customers the best service. Read more to find out how she spends her days at Race.

How long have you been at Race?

I have been at Race for a year and one month.

What’s your official title?

I believe it’s called Customer Service Representative [laughs].

What exactly do you do at Race?

I take inbound calls that are non-technical. I’m really not technically inclined…so I  leave that to the guys [laughs]. I can schedule installations, I do all of the Welcome Calls for the new orders that come into the cue.

I do a lot of spreadsheet maintenance to keep the team up to date. I do order completions as it gets closer to the end of the month. Sometimes, things get overlooked and I go through the orders and provisions in the install cue, to make sure any order that has been completed, really has been completed.

I also do line number porting [which is how customers are able to keep their home number when they switch from providers].

And then, anything else that may come up, but roughly that’s everything I do off the top of my head.

What’s your typical day like?

My typical day is usually very busy. I mean I’m always busy and if I’m not busy, I’m looking into the system to find things that may need to be corrected or updated. All of us are moving so quickly, and there are things that go by the waist side, so I’m always on the search to correct things.

Whether I’m busy with outside info, calls and all that, I am finding things to do to make sure that everything we’re doing is top notch.

What three words can you use to describe Race?

That is a hard one [laughs]. I have more words than three. I knocked it down to: We are definitely awesome, progressive. We are competitive, reliable and friendly. That’s what I think of Race.

Bonus Question: What’s your favorite movie?

You’re going to laugh. It’s an older movie. It’s the 3-D animation, it’s called Up. If you haven’t seen it, go see it. I cried during the whole movie. It was wonderful. It brings out the sentimentality of life and what we’re here for.

“Phishing” – How to protect yourself.

Ads, ads, ads – the Internet is full of them!

Whether companies are vying for your attention through a flash sale or a targeted Facebook ad, digital advertising has taken the Internet by storm. Digital advertising has become more powerful than advertising because we consider it information rather than marketing.

But with every innovation, comes a dark side.

We’ve all seen the “WIN A FREE iPad” ad, but how many of those ads are actually real? And how many of those ads are a product of “Phishing”.

Phishing scams are typically fraudulent emails or ads appearing to come from legitimate enterprises. Once clicked, the ad is designed to direct you to a fake website to try and get you to enter personal information. If successful, the private information is usually used to charge your accounts for fraudulent payments, commit identity theft or worse, sold on the Black Market.

“Typically, people will use different means to present themselves as a source everyone knows. They use legitimate websites, logos and make every attempt for you to login with your personal information,” says Carlos Alcantar, Chief Technology Officer of Race Communications.

So think of it like this. You get an email or you see an ad from a notable establishment. The ad may state you’ve won a prize and that you must follow the link provided to redeem it. When you click the link or follow the ad, you have to enter your personal information to retrieve it. Don’t. Stop right there.

Once you enter your information, it becomes very hard, if not impossible, to retract.

We saw an example of phishing just last week, when hackers created a Google Doc phishing scam that affected millions of Gmail inboxes.  So what can you do to protect yourself?

“Never click on things that are suspicious,” says Alcantar. “If your gut tells you something isn’t right, listen to it.”

  • If you suspect something is a scam, go directly to the site and check for the promotion on the site. If it is legitimate, enter your information from there.
  • Never use links in an email to connect to a website unless you are absolutely sure they are authentic.
  • Always communicate personal information over the phone or through a secure website. (you can identify a secure site if https:// precedes the website address,
  • Never use email to share personal information such as credit card information or social security numbers. Even if you know the recipient of the email, unauthorized users maybe able to gain access to you or the recipient’s account.
  • If possible, avoid using your email on public computers. Information from an email is temporarily stored on a computer’s local disk and can be retrieved by another user if it is not deleted properly.
  • Do not click any buttons or links in pop-up windows. If your browser has a pop-up blocker, make sure it is enabled at all times. Don’t have a pop-up blocker? Get one!
  • Check your credit report and financial records regularly. This may not seem directly related, but checking your accounts for fraudulent activity will help you identify any changes immediately.

Fighting Frontier – Race Responds to the challenge!

At the end of April, Frontier Communications submitted a challenge that would jeopardize Race Communications’ efforts in Phelan, CA. Their challenge was rejected by the CPUC, however this did not stop Frontier from trying to submit further comments. This morning, Race submitted its response and hopes that the CPUC will see the error in Frontier’s ways. Steve Blum from Tellus Venture wrote about this in his blog earlier this week.

To our customers and supporters, we hope you will read through our response and know that we are fighting for all unserved and underserved areas and that we believe everyone has the right to have access to adequate broadband.

RACE TELECOMMUNICATIONS, INC REPLY COMMENTS TO

COMMENTS SUBMITTED BY FRONTIER COMMUNICATIONS

Race Telecommunications, Inc. (“Race”), hereby submits its reply comments to the Frontier Communications (“Frontier”) comments concerning the proposed approval of $28,572,819 from the California Advanced Services Fund (“CASF”) of Race’s Gigafy Phelan project.

Race has thoroughly reviewed the comments by Frontier, and we ask that the Frontier comments be disregarded and unheeded based on the fact that Frontier did not adhere to the specific guidelines as set forth in Decision D.12-02-015 section 3.12 — Evaluation of Challenges[1]. During the policy discussion, Frontier participated in and made recommendations to support the challenge process regarding Parties’ comments (3.12.1). The rules are not unknown or ambiguous.

Frontier’s latest comments clearly contradict the current rules for challenging as stated in section 3.12.2 Discussion:

“Any party that challenges a CBG as being served or (for applications for unserved areas) underserved will have to provide documentation that the CBG is in fact already served (e.g., a copy of a customer bill).”[2]

At this time, Frontier has provided no documentation that the CBGs in question are served; but rather submitted a late challenge response[3] to the CPUC on April 19, 2017 stating that it intends to build to a portion of the homes in the project area.  The CPUC staff responded to this letter declining the challenge based on the strict guidelines of the challenge process, citing lack of timeliness on Frontier’s part, and based on the fact that information provided by Frontier shows the company only intends to serve half of the households in the project area, “the vast majority of which Frontier did not indicate as capable of achieving CASF-minimum speeds.” [4]

Irrespective of the procedural inconsistencies — for which Frontier’s challenges alone should be rejected — it is clear that Frontier’s attempts to interfere in Draft Resolution T-17525 are anti-competitive, monopolistic, unreasonable, and will result in further delay of fulfilling the CASF’s mission to promote deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to unserved and underserved high priority areas.

Race has been a CASF grant recipient since 2010 and our work has resulted in the deployment of state-of-the-art communications infrastructure to thousands of Californians.  It is our experience that CASF and CAF (Connect America Fund) have always co-existed. Based on available information, we have found that although CAF funding has been awarded to a region, it does not guarantee completion as presented in Resolution T-17522[5].

In the resolution, Frontier requested CASF-funding for the uncompleted areas they had previously been awarded CAF funding for. In addition, CAF funding is only available to ILECs and LECs — meaning Race is barred from receiving any of the available CAF funds. However, ILECs and LECs such as Frontier are free to receive CASF funding in addition to CAF.[6] Frontier has previously received CAF funding for the same project they subsequently received CASF funding for in resolution T-17484[7]. Frontier’s comments on customers paying twice for broadband are disingenuous.

Should Race’s resolution be rejected on this basis, it would go against previous precedent and discourage CLECs and wireless carriers from applying for CASF funding. The end result will inevitably lead to less competition, less innovation, and ultimately penalize California residents. The objectives set forth in California Public Utility Code Section 709[8] are clear.

  • To continue our universal service commitment by assuring the continued affordability and widespread availability of high-quality telecommunications services to all Californians.
  • To encourage the development and deployment of new technologies and the equitable provision of services in a way that efficiently meets consumer need and encourages the ubiquitous availability of a wide choice of state-of-the-art services.
  • To assist in bridging the “digital divide” by encouraging expanded access to state-of-the-art technologies for rural, inner-city, low-income, and disabled Californians.
  • To promote lower prices, broader consumer choice, and avoidance of anticompetitive conduct.
  • To remove the barriers to open and competitive markets and promote fair product and price competition in a way that encourages greater efficiency, lower prices, and more consumer choice.

In resolution T-17322[9] where DRA challenged Frontier, Frontier responded that “in the spirit of fairness, due process, and rapid deployment of broadband to unserved and underserved Californians, the grant be approved via existing rules.” The CPUC acknowledged and agreed.

Race now asks the same, and we respectfully request that the CPUC disregard Frontier’s comments. They neither meet the strict guidelines of D.12-02-015, nor are they consistent with the objectives of the CPUC. Doing anything but dismissing Frontier’s comments would set a dangerous precedent for Californians needing broadband in the unserved and underserved areas for which CASF was designed.

 

[1] D.12-02-015, Guidelines, page 33

[2] D.12-02-015, Guidelines, page 34

[3] Frontier Challenge letter April 19, 2017 (http://cdn.downloads.race.com/frontier_phelan_challenge.pdf)

[4] CPUC letter dated April 26, 2017, (http://cdn.downloads.race.com/cpuc_phelan_challenge_response.pdf)

[5] Resolution T-17522 (http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M167/K792/167792231.PDF)

[6] CAF Funding Map, (https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/caf-2-accepted-map/)

[7] Resolution T-17484 (http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M153/K450/153450700.PDF)

[8] PUC Section 709 (http://codes.findlaw.com/ca/public-utilities-code/puc-sect-709.html)

[9] Resolution T-17322, (http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/WORD_PDF/FINAL_RESOLUTION/137226.PDF)

Do I need to “Gigafy”?

As technology evolves, there’s something to be learned on a daily basis.

Gigabit Internet is the new kid on the block and one of the biggest tech crazes around.

For starters, experts believe Gigabit Internet will change the world we live in. According to Marti Hearst, a professor at UC Berkeley School of Information. In an article, she wrote she points out that we get to a gigabit world, “More interaction will be done with others remotely… We greatly reduce flying around for meetings because virtual conferencing feels real… Your golf lesson could be done with a coach remotely, in real time, while he or she watches your swing at the tee and has you make corrections and adjust your grip.”

Final_inline blogGigabit Internet is the next generation of broadband Internet service which is delivered over fiber optic lines and provides speeds of 1,000Mbps, which is also referred to as “1 Gbps” or “Gigabit” internet. This marks the highest speed of Internet a consumer can get, but only a handful of service providers offer it.

Think of Gigabit as a unit of measurement for digital storage space and speed. It’s a fiber-optic internet connection that offers never-before-seen speeds. That kind of speed equates to being able to download a high-definition movie in about 30 seconds. That’s pretty fast!

Every day, more and more Gigabit communities are popping around the country. From Austin, TX to Kansas City, KS, many different cities have benefited from lightening fast speeds.

But should you get a Gig?

Absolutely! If your household or business dabbles in activities that require more bandwidth, such as online gaming or video conferencing, you will benefit from Gigabit Internet. More speed is also necessary for homes and businesses with multiple people and devices who share bandwidth.

What can you do with Gig?
Just to name a few things:

  • That new 4K television, which delivers an ultra-high-definition resolution that displays close to 8 million pixels will look even more amazing. With such extensive technology, 4K is heavy on your bandwidth. Having more megabits will help maintain your connection and create a stronger stream…so no more buffering!
  • Want to create a smart home? Home automation is becoming more and more popular. As more wireless devices are created for controlling and automating your environment, your household is going to need more bandwidth.  Go ahead and get that wireless security camera  or the newest Nest thermostat. Your new gigafied home can easily support these new tech gadgets.

Currently, Race Communications offers fiber optic, Gigabit Internet, Phone, and TV services in communities across the state.

Our services include:

  • Race Internet: Make your Internet connection fly–Gigafy. With speeds up to 100 times faster than DSL or cable, Race’s gigabit fiber-to-the-premises makes the Internet feel like it’s right next to you, on your own private network.
  • Race Phone: Race offers fiber-based phone service for the highest-quality voice calls. Our unlimited phone lines come with nationwide calling, a full range of call and phone features, and very low international rates. Since our phone service is a traditional landline and not VOIP, it is reliable even in a power outage.
  • Race TV: This new, top of the line product is delivered over our company’s fiber-to-the-premises network. The service includes all of the most popular US cable channels and has something for movie buffs and sports enthusiasts alike. Enjoy Superior HD-quality video, a variety of news, sports and entertainment channels and the newest in DVR technology and Video OnDemand and offers a comprehensive TV package with close to 300 SD and HD channels.

If you aren’t sure if Gigabit internet is a right for your household, give us a call at 1-877-722-3338 to speak with a member of our Sales team or visit at Race.com.

Working Together – Mono County & Race Communications

As of April 20th, 2017, Race has been vetted by the planning committee, board, and County and is approved to build in Crowley Lake and Lee Vining.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) selected Race Communications to bring fiber optic Internet to the communities of Aspen Springs, Chalfant, Crowley Lake, Lee Vining, Bridgeport, Walker and Sunny Slopes in Mono County, CA.

Race will be the “last-mile” provider utilizing Digital 395’s backbone, which was a federally funded “middle mile” project that provides a 583-mile fiber optic network between Barstow, CA, and Carson, NV.

 As part of the process, Race Communications must adhere to guidelines set by Mono County’s General Plan. Government Code 65300 requires each county to “adopt a comprehensive long-term general plan for the physical development of the county.” Mono County is unique in that the General Plan and Zoning Code have been combined into one document. 

 The section pertaining to utilities is known as Chapter 11 and was originally created in the 1990’s.

This chapter adds an additional layer of approval to the build out of Race Communications’ network and means that the company’s overall plans must be approved before permits can be approved. Race Communications is the first utility company that has had to go through the process since Chapter 11 was finalized. It has been a learning curve both for the company and the county. 

As of April 20th, 2017, Race has been vetted by the planning committee, board, and County and is approved to build in Crowley Lake and Lee Vining. The company expects the remaining communities to be approved in May and June of 2017.

Race Communications appreciates the patience from residents in Mono County. We would like everyone to know that the county has been extremely helpful throughout this process, and Race is ready for the next steps. The company will be applying for permits for all new construction. Once these permits are issued, residents will see Race crews throughout the communities. Certain areas may have seen crews working on our existing infrastructure which we will now be able to tie in and connect once the new builds are completed.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to bring this service to Mono County residents,” said Race Communication CEO Raul Alcaraz. “In today’s connected world, reliable, high-speed internet is an absolute necessity. Not only will homes be seamlessly connected to a wealth of entertainment choices and cloud services, Race’s fiber network will bring significant improvements to local business, education, community services, and public safety.”

 Race has dedicated extensive resources to designing, building and providing fiber-based Internet services to nearly 12,000 homes and businesses in unserved and underserved communities throughout California.