Does the FCC Think You Have Sufficient Internet Service?

If you read our previous blogs about AB 1665 and Net Neutrality, you know that the FCC and the State of California are implementing new regulations that will have an impact on carriers like Race Communications when it comes to receiving funding for broadband projects.  To date, Race has been awarded approximately $71 million from 10 separate CASF grants covering 60% of project costs. 

At the end of 2017, the FCC determined which areas in the country are eligible for funding from the Connect America Fund (CAF) to bring broadband internet to unserved areas. The eligible areas are determined through the data that the FCC receives from broadband providers every 6 months.  

Here’s the catch.  

The data that determines if your area is eligible for funding isn’t based off of actual service being provided.  Consumers are considered “served” if a broadband provider indicates that they can provide service to “any census block where at least one home could potentially get 10/1Mbps broadband service within a reasonable amount of time.” Yes that’s right.  That means if you live on a block in which a broadband provider can potentially connect just one home with required speeds, then the entire block is deemed served.  

Here’s the kicker.

The newest data from the FCC shows a reduction of unserved areas by 30% when compared to the data just 16 months prior.  That means less areas are eligible for funding from the CAF and makes it more difficult for providers like Race to submit for grants.  Race will continue to excel in providing service to the underserved and rural communities.

You can contact the FCC here at the Consumer Complaint Center to let your voice be heard.

 

Never Fear! Race Continues to Support Net Neutrality

In May 2017, Race Communications ensured our customers that we would support Net Neutrality.  Even though the rules and regulations on how the internet runs has changed we continue that promise.  Though this topic has become very political in nature, being a smaller internet service provider who will continue to protect our customers’ privacy and not throttle their internet speeds is beneficial for Race Communications, our customers and the internet as whole.  

raceralph

Race Communications has stood by the mission of providing service to underserved communities and to those communities that larger providers have long ignored.  It would only make sense for Race to continue support Net Neutrality and not let our services be affected by this change in regulations.  Be happy that you are a Race customer! If you don’t have Race and are in our service area, call our team at 877-722-3833 or visit www.race.com to get started today.  

The Fiber Path to Your Home

Race_The Fiber Path to Your Home_2

Many Race Customers are very happy with their internet speeds once they get installed.  Here’s a simple infographic showing how fiber is connected to your home.
Remember: Fiber-optic is NOT like copper wiring that most internet service providers use.  With Fiber, customers do not lose broadband speed or capacity during peak usage times like with copper.  Your home will have a dedicated internet signal with symmetrical download and upload speeds.
  1. Fiber Optic cable is ran via an aerial or underground drop to the “clamshell” which is installed outside of the home.
  2. The “clamshell” unit on the outside of the home houses the fiber cable that is ran through the wall and connected to the Optical Network Terminal (ONT).
  3. The ONT converts the laser light signal from the fiber into an electrical signal.  CAT 5 or 6 cable is then ran from the ONT to the router.
  4. If using our Race router, you will be able to hardwire devices using CAT 5 or 6 cable or utilize it’s 2 channel WiFi signal to connect to the internet.
Share, Like and Comment! Get Gigafied Today!. 

Race Gigathon Rolled Out in Phelan

Residents of the Phelan, Piñon Hills and Oak Hills areas of San Bernardino County were in attendance for the 2nd “Gigafy Phelan” Town Hall as Race Communications rolled out it’s Race Gigathon, where residents can win prizes including 1 year of FREE internet service from Race.

Project Update:

Race has purchased property in the Phelan area as part of their project to service over 10,000 households with fiber to the home.  Currently, engineers are testing utility poles and performing land surveys to assist with the final designs of Race’s Fiber network.  Race announced that the project in Phelan will be divided into zones which will be announced at a later time.

Race Gigathon:

The announcement of the Race Gigathon was received with much fanfare. Those in attendance participated in the #RELAY portion of the Gigathon by asking questions to Race Team members.  Race raffled off 1 FREE month of Race Internet while one lucky winner will win 1 year of FREE internet at the finish of the Gigathon.   Instructions on how to play and enter into the Gigathon are available at https://www.race.com/gigathon.

Gigafy Phelan Town Hall:

Race will hold their next town hall on January 20th with the time and location still to be determined.  Make sure you are receiving our project updates by filling out our Inquiry Form.  Share with your neighbors and friends so they can receive updates as well.

Check out our Race Communications YouTube Channel

Race YouTube Channel

 

 

 

The Internet for All Act?

This week the California Assembly Bill 1665, dubbed “The Internet for All Act”, was amended and passed through to the State Senate claiming that the appropriated $300 million it raises from surcharges will help to close the digital divide in California.  On the surface, this is a positive move towards providing broadband internet service to “underserved households”. But is it really?

What you need to know:

AB 1665 was amended by assembly members like Eduardo Garcia (56th Assembly District) to mainly benefit large internet providers like AT&T and Frontier Communications.  Frontier Communications has a long-standing history in over promising and under-delivering when it comes to bringing adequate broadband to many of their markets, especially those that are rural.  The community of Phelan, CA is a prime example of how dissatisfied customers are with their service from Frontier. This is in part why Race Communications was awarded the a $27.6 million dollar grant in July 2017. The grant was awarded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). The grant is for Race Communications’ broadband project in the Phelan region and will bring a brand new fiber to the home network to over 7,600 households.

As AB 1665 has been re-written so has the definition of “underserved households” and the definition of “underserved households” should raise eyebrows amongst California residents.

Here is what the current bill says and how consumers should read between the lines:

AB 1665: “Households for which no broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds of at least 6 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and one mbps upstream.”

What does that mean? This means that if your household is receiving anything above speeds of 6 Mbps you are deemed “served”.  The original bill put this benchmark of at least 6Mbps download/1.5Mbps upload.  We at Race know that speeds below 25 Mbps aren’t sufficient for consumers anymore.  

This requirement is also far below the benchmark set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2016, of at least 25Mbps download/3Mbps upload

AB 1665: “Projects that only deploy middle-mile infrastructure are not eligible for grant funding.”

Race currently has projects in Mono County which are connected to the middle-mile infrastructure provided by the Digital 395 middle-mile project.  If AB 1665 passes with the current wording regarding “middle-mile infrastructure” then projects such as Digital 395 and Digital 299 wouldn’t be eligible for future grants. These types of projects are crucial for the build out of adequate broadband service in rural communities. Without these projects, last mile providers like Race would not be able to provide service to remote areas like Chalfant Valley, Sunny Slopes and Bridgeport.

So what does this mean for consumers?
In a nutshell, this means less areas qualify for receiving funds from the state and the money will most likely go to AT&T, Frontier and larger broadband providers who historically avoid building infrastructure in rural areas, due to the costs associated.  This also means that smaller independent providers like Race will face extreme difficulty in qualifying for grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) should the bill pass as it is currently written.

We know that the two main reasons why consumers switch their internet providers are price and performance.  Race surpasses the competition in both.  Race provides fiber-optic broadband internet service which outperforms internet service via copper wiring like AT&T and Frontier.  With over 20 active projects across the state of California, Race has seen the benefits of CASF and what adequate broadband can do for rural communities.


What can you do?
If you feel that your community deserves to be brought into today’s technologically advanced world, let your voice be heard and write Governor Jerry Brown’s Office and let him know why he should veto AB-1665. Demand adequate broadband service and oppose lowering the standards and elevating the barrier of entry for independent providers.  You can visit Governor Brown’s website here or call (916) 445-2841.