In case you missed our town hall…

Here is a recap of our recent town hall meeting at the Rood Administrative Center:

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We know many of the residents in our service area lead busy lives and were not able to attend our town hall meeting on Wednesday, January 30. Don’t worry – if you missed the meeting, you can catch it on Facebook through the Nevada County page or on Youtube through the Nevada County Media page once the video is uploaded.

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There was a great turn out for the town hall meeting on 1/30/2019

Lead by Race Communications’ CEO, Raul Alcaraz, the meeting provided a lot of helpful information for the community. Alcaraz covered the company’s history, products and pricing as well as the project’s long history and bright future! Alongside Alcaraz, were several of the Race executive team.

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From left to right: Raul Alcaraz – CEO, Domenic Pacini – VP of OSP & Engineering, Carlos Alcantar – CTO, Jim Miller – VP of Sales & Marketing.

While construction is still a few months away, Alcaraz assured residents that the project would be completed within the timeframe set by the CASF grant. Fiber to the home networks are changing the internet landscape and new fiber networks have quickly become the gold standard for cities across America, and Race is going to ensure that Western Nevada County does not get left behind.

To date, Race has been awarded eleven separate grants through the CASF program to advance broadband adoption and infrastructure deployment in areas such as Mojave, Tehachapi, Phelan and Bridgeport. Of these CASF projects, 9 have been completed and our tenth project is well underway. Bright Fiber will be our 11th CASF project. We have seen a huge benefit from our fiber networks in all of our CASF projects.

It has been a long journey to get to where we are – and there is still work to be done. However, we believe we have the expertise needed to get the project completed within 18 months, if not sooner.

Over 500 residents have paid a $119 deposit for gigabit service, and some deposit payers were wondering about the status of their money. Race will honor everyone’s deposit by applying it as a credit to their first bill. In addition, Race will also be giving deposit payers one free month of data service. In order to apply the credit, Race will create client IDs and provide account and login information to all deposit payers.

We understand that some people may move or simply not be interested in receiving service anymore. For those deposit payers, Race will provide a refund within 30 days of receiving a request. The refund request form can be found on nc.race.com

If you have questions about availability or want to see if your home or business will be in the planned fiber footprint, please check our map on nc.race.com or visit the map directly.

Town Hall scheduled for 1/30 at 7:30 PM

By now, you have heard that Race Communications has acquired Bright Fiber Network, and you’re probably wondering what that means for you as an advocate and supporter of the Bright Fiber project in Western Nevada County.

We have been working tirelessly to move the project along since early 2018. The Bright Fiber Network and its Nevada County project were awarded a $16.2M California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant in December of 2015. On January 10th of this year, the CPUC approved the transfer of the Bright Fiber Network from Spiral Internet to Race Communications.

Our team at Race has the experience and expertise to complete the project in an efficient and timely manner having received ten CASF grants, of which nine have been successfully completed. Our tenth project, “Gigafy Phelan” is well underway.

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning— luckily the majority of the tough legwork has been done. For more information on the project and our plans, please join us for a town hall meeting on Wednesday, January 30th at the Eric Rood Administrative Center in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers. The meeting will begin at 7:30 PM.

Please be sure to register for the meeting through Eventbrite. Space is limited, don’t wait!

If you cannot make it to the town hall in person, NCTV will be live streaming the town hall on Channel 17.  You may also watch the live stream on Facebook or you can find the recording on Nevada County TV’s YouTube channel afterwards!

CPUC Greenlights Sale of Bright Fiber Network to Race Communications!

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 10, 2019

Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (Commission) voted to approve the purchase of Bright Fiber Network, Inc. (Bright Fiber) by Race Telecommunications, Inc. (Race), giving the green light to a $26.8 million dollar fiber-to-the-home build, servicing 1,941 households in western Nevada County. The project was approved with a unanimous 4-0 vote.

The original Commission California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) grant for the project which was awarded to Bright Fiber in December 2015, but was delayed by other federal grant developments and Bright Fiber’s search for financing for required matching funds.  In June 2018, Race announced its planned acquisition of Bright Fiber, which it will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Race to complete and manage the project. A successful Internet Service Provider that has received ten and completed nine Commission rural broadband projects in the state, Race will provide all necessary financing and bring deep technical and managerial expertise to the Bright Fiber project.  

“It’s been a ten-year journey to arrive at the point where construction can finally begin on this transformational gigabit fiber project in an area of rural Nevada County, where broadband Internet access is severely limited,” said John Paul, the President of Bright Fiber.  ”My neighborhood champions, the hundreds of project supporters and I are simply thrilled and grateful that the Commission approved Race taking the helm and completing Bright Fiber’s vision to bring our community into the Information Age.”

To contain costs that steeply rose since the project’s original application in 2013, Bright Fiber and Race proposed an amended project that is 25% underground with 75% aerial installation, meaning that the fiber will be attached to existing poles similar to telephone and electric facilities.  The Commission reviewed and approved these changes to the broadband project, including a $69,534 reduction in the CASF grant, now amended to $16,086,789.  The revised total cost of the project will be $26,811,315. The Commission found that the lack of reliable and affordable broadband in the project area remains the case today, and this transfer allows the project to be completed. Under Assembly Bill 1665, the Commission is working to provide broadband to 98% of the residents in the state by region.

The Commission granted an extension of the original deadline for construction to May 2020.  Race has already completed the engineering for the amended project and said it will immediately begin the permitting process with the local authorities and seek to complete the project within the required timeframe.

“Race is humbled and grateful that the Commission has moved quickly to approve this transfer of control of Bright Fiber and review the needed CASF project changes so that Race can construct this important project for the community,” said Raul Alcaraz, President of Race.  “Our team at Race has been blessed to have a successful track record of CASF projects, and we feel confident we can deliver a reliable, fast and affordable broadband system.”

Race and Bright Fiber will hold a Town Hall meeting for the community in the evening on Wednesday, January 30th to describe the amended project to interested community members and to answer any questions.  The location and time of the Town Hall will be announced shortly.
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Founded in 1994, Race Telecommunications, Inc. has a successful track record of delivering high-speed fiber solutions to rural and disadvantaged communities that are both affordable and sustainable. Working in partnership with the California Public Utilities Commission and non-profit community advocacy groups, Race has made it its mission to bridge the Digital Divide in California.

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Bright Fiber Network, Inc. is an independent internet service provider in Nevada County.  The company began as Spiral Internet in May 2006. Since its inception, Bright Fiber has evolved its business and service offerings in the rural broadband market and has worked tirelessly to bring a state-of-the-art fiber network to western Nevada County.  After the sale of BFN to Race, BFN will work exclusively on the fiber-to-the-home CASF project. A separate company, Spiral Internet LLC, has been spun off from BFN and will offer web hosting, dial-up, email, and DSL resale services under the leadership of John Paul.

“Gigafy Phelan” is underway – here’s what to expect!

As Race works to gigafy the communities of Phelan, Pinon Hills, and Oak Hills, the company has begun to revamp existing processes. Starting with the release of Mint zone, homeowners who placed their order with Race immediately received their final in-home installation date. The installation date given was 90 days out from the time the order was placed to ensure that the line extension (aka “drop”) from the street to the home was complete. This timeframe also allowed for the completion of service testing.

As of September 13th, homeowners who have had their drop completed in Mint received a call moving their final installation date by almost 30 days. This process has worked extremely well and Race intends to continue following this model. Our company does NOT believe in overpromising and underdelivering. We want to set realistic expectations with our customers so that they can be pleasantly surprised should their installation date be moved up.

With a new release (“Gold” zone on 9/20) right around the corner, we want to make the process easy to understand and we want those ordering to be aware of what to expect in the coming weeks.

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning. We hope that most residents have filled out an inquiry form by now (if not, be sure to do so). Residents who have submitted an inquiry will receive an e-mail from Race 24-48 hours before the order form is released for their address and zone. This e-mail will contain a step-by-step to placing an order and will give residents in the area a reminder that the order form will soon be released.

Once a zone is released, residents in that zone can go to our website to place their order. Residents can also call 877-722-3833, but be aware that hold times can be longer around a release date due to a much higher volume of calls than normal.

For order instructions, be sure to visit this blog post – it has a visual guide and thoroughly explains the order process.

Once your order is placed, a sales team member will give you a call to explain the next steps and schedule your installation. Don’t be alarmed if the appointment is scheduled 90-120 days out. This is just to ensure that our contractors have enough time to complete the line extension (drop) to your home.

Here is a quick breakdown of what happens once your order is placed.

  1. Your order is processed:
    Once you’ve placed your order either online or over the phone, the order will be sent to our in-house Customer Service team. Within 24-48 business hours, you should receive a welcome call that will review your order, confirm your selected services and schedule your in-home installation.

Speaking of next steps…

Let’s discuss – Aerial vs. Underground:
For many of our zones, we know beforehand whether your property is an aerial or underground drop (this is why we ask for your address at the start of every form and call). This is all determined in our engineering and construction phase. Now it’s important to know the difference between these two terms. They will dictate how your services will be installed.

  1. Aerial DropsThere are a number of ways an aerial drop can be completed. The most common way we install our aerial drops is a Race technician will install a line from a telephone pole to the side of your home and connect the fiber optic cord along the existing utility line to your home. Aerial drops are usually done within 7-10 business days after your order is placed, but in newly released zones it can take up to 4 weeks. Once the drop is completed, our scheduling team is notified by our contractors. Please allow 2 business days for the drop to be marked as complete as testing must be done to ensure the drop was successful.
  2. Underground Drops: If your home has been deemed an underground drop or you have chosen to be underground, make sure your conduit has been approved by a field engineer. If you do not have conduit, that’s fine too! Our contractors will dig a trench and place a conduit for you – the only downside is this may take a little longer than an aerial drop.

I’ve gotten my fiber lines dropped, what should I expect next?:
You’re almost there! Welcome to the final step of your Race installation process! If your drop and testing have been completed, we will do our utmost to move your installation date up so you don’t have to wait.

A Race technician will be present for this step, we like to refer to this as the “Day Of” or “In-Home” Installation.

For the day of install, it’s really helpful if you know where exactly you want your equipment to permanently be. Remember, once the technician installs the equipment, you cannot move it again.

The first piece of equipment the technician will install will be the Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is a piece of equipment that takes the fiber optic cable and converts it into an Ethernet connection. After the ONT has been installed, the technician will install any other equipment you may have ordered such as a DVR or set-top box. Once all your equipment is in place, it’s time to run a speed test to make sure your Race services are up to par. Once that is done, the technician will show you how to access your network and provide you with your login information.

Congratulations! You are officially connected to your new Race services. Now it’s time for you to upload, download, surf and stream at never before seen speeds. If at any point in time you have any questions about your products or any of our services, feel free to visit our website at race.com or give us a call at 877-722-3833.

Thank you for choosing Race!

Help the “little” guys out and have your voice heard with the FCC!

BE HEARD AND HELP SAVE TELECOM COMPETITION!

Many of you know that competitive internet access and telecom service is worth saving. Without competitive access, many consumers across the nation would be left at the mercy of the larger, incumbent providers.

A recent petition submitted to the FCC by the US Telecom Association, representing AT&T and other incumbents threatens other competitive carriers. We need you to speak out to save competition today!

The details: The 1996 Telecommunications Act allows competitive carriers like Race Communications and Sonic to rent bare copper lines from incumbent carriers, and to use spare fiber between cities. These critical “unbundled network elements” (UNEs) enable competitive carriers such as Race Communications and Sonic. Sonic uses UNEs to deploy equipment and provide their Fusion and FlexLink services, and to backhaul their gigabit fiber service. UNE copper services enables fiber deployment by allowing companies to aggregate demand and serve members while they deploy fiber.

The bottom line: If the petition passes, it will eliminate the right of independent carriers to serve customers on copper lines, and to use fiber to connect our networks around the state. This would impair the ability of providers like Sonic to deploy new gigabit fiber service. It is critical that we stand together to fight for competitive telecommunications, and we hope that you will join us and Sonic.

Visit savecompetition.com now and leave a public comment letting the FCC know you oppose the USTelecom petition. Together, we can make sure the FCC knows that approving the USTelecom petition is a huge step backwards for competition and for consumers.

Thank you for your support!