Crowley Lake Information Meeting Summary

This past weekend was a busy one for the residents of Mono County with Mammoth Rocks – Taste of the Sierra, but that did not deter residents from attending our information meeting on Saturday, August 27th. Leading the meeting was CEO, Raul Alcaraz, who took time to explain the various steps of fiber construction. So what goes into building a fiber network? What has RACE been up to since receiving grant approval for the “Gigafy Mono” project.

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.

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.

In the coming weeks, our trucks will be in Crowley Lake and Sunny Slopes and we hope to turn up our first customer by the end of the year!

CPUC Approves Grant for Fiber-to-the-Home Internet to the Occidental Area

The rural community of Occidental in western Sonoma County will finally join the 21st Century with reliable, affordable, fiber-to-the-home high-speed broadband Internet.

SONOMA COUNTY – On Thursday August 18th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a grant for construction of the Race Communications Gigafy Occidental Project for fiber-to-the-home, high-speed broadband Internet to the previously unserved area west of the town of Occidental. The grant is funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) administered and managed by the CPUC.

The project covers approximately 5 square miles of hilly terrain with very tall redwood forests and highly dispersed homes, vineyards and small farms. The complex terrain makes it unfeasible to bring broadband Internet to the community using anything other than a fiber solution.

The approval of the project represents the result of a determined effort by members of the community to bring broadband access to the approximately 500 households in this rural area. The community organized public meetings with the CPUC and coordinated letters of support from local businesses, public safety officials and local schools. In addition, almost half of the community wrote personal letters of support detailing their business, health, education and other needs for Internet. The community also worked with the CPUC to run speed tests and map the area to document unserved status. Community organizers surveyed residents to verify that the vast majority of households would subscribe to the service. This assisted Race and the CPUC to justify the need and business case for the project.

Access Sonoma Broadband (ASB) and the North Bay/North Coast Broadband Consortium actively supported the community and helped stimulate its grass roots efforts. It also took on the role of working with supervisors, legislators and government officials to win their support. Michael Nicholls, Co-Chair of ASB commented, “Our experience in Occidental with community organizing and government outreach has given us a framework for replicating this success in other North Bay communities.”

Race is based in the San Francisco Bay area and has a successful track record of delivering fiber solutions to rural communities that are both affordable and sustainable. “Access to high-speed broadband continues to be one of the most challenging issues facing rural areas in California.” Said Race CEO, Raul Alcaraz. “As a native of the Bay Area, I care deeply about our local communities. Our team is proud to work with the CPUC, ASB and local community organizers to deliver fiber-based solutions that are good for the community and sustainable as a long-term business.”

RaceTV is now available!

RaceTV has been a highly anticipated product and we are happy to announce that we are now accepting orders from customers in Stallion Springs and Boron as well as other existing markets. At this time we are offering one TV package with a second package coming this fall.

The price for our new RaceTV package is $95* a month as a stand alone product and includes up to 300 HD-channels. For the full channel line-up please see the link below or visit our services page on the RACE website. RACE also offers a bundle for $180* that includes all of our top of the line packages (Gigafy Me, Unlimited Phone and Expanded RaceTV) as well as the necessary equipment.

With features such as “Catch Up” and “Restart”, you won’t have to worry about missing your favorite shows. “Catch UP” allows you to go back and watch programming you missed while “Restart” lets you start a live episode from the beginning.
Have more than one TV? RACE will provide one complimentary DVR box and homeowners will be able to rent additional set top boxes ($7/each) for up to 4 additional TVs. You don’t need a DVR box for each TV to record tonight’s episode of “American Idol”. With one DVR box, you can record up to 5 shows at once.

RaceTV requires a 1-year contract to waive the $150 installation fee. If you are interested in signing up for RaceTV, give us a call today to get started. 877-722-3833

Our full channel line-up can be found here