Approved “Gigafy Phelan” Grant Will Provide Fiber-Based Gigabit Internet to over 7,600 Households
San Francisco, CA – July 28, 2017: On Thursday July 13th, The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) passed the Gigafy Phelan Projectand granted Race Communications approximately $27.6 million from the California Advanced Service Fund (CASF) to bring fiber-based gigabit internet to the Phelan, Pinon Hills and Oak Hills areas of San Bernardino County. These areas were labeled “high priority” by the CASF in 2014 due to not meeting the minimum requirements of upload and download internet speeds and the impact the lack of connectivity was having on the community.
Race Communications and several members of the community played a big role in gaining the approval of this project as competitors worked to block the grant. Providing services to a new area requires Race Communications to a build new network, which can be an extensive process. Therefore, members of the community are invited to attend a Town Hall Information Session on Sunday August 27th at Pinon Mesa Middle School from 2-4pm. Details on the next steps after approval will be provided and residents are encouraged to attend and ask any questions they may have about the project.
Raul Alcaraz, CEO of Race Communications notes that: “This project has been in the works for a long time and we are very proud that the CPUC saw the need for better connectivity in the area. Our company looks forward to moving ahead with the project and proving to everyone why fiber-based internet is the way of the future. We look forward to providing more information on the project as well as our construction process during the August 27th town hall meeting.”
The $27.6-million-dollar grant was awarded after multiple challenges and months of delays.
San Francisco, CA: On Thursday, July 13th, 2017 The California Public Utilities Commission voted four to one yesterday to approve the “Gigafy Phelan” grant, which will cover 60% of the cost of building a brand new fiber to the home network in the Phelan, Pinon Hills and Oak Hills regions. The single no came from commission president Michael Picker. The grant will provide fiber-based gigabit internet to over 7,600 households in a 98 square mile coverage area.
The decision to approve resolution T-17525 and award Race Communications the grant comes after years of planning and months of deliberation. Commissioners admitted that this was a difficult decision for them after a late challenge from Frontier came in April 2017. Frontier claimed it was in the process of upgrading services to 85% of the proposed project area using CAF-II funding, a federal program put in place to upgrade broadband in rural services. Unlike the CASF fund, CAF-II funding is limited to incumbent carriers and expenditure is not limited to construction.
After some research by CPUC staff it was determined that the upgrades proposed by Frontier would not meet the current minimum standard and would only serve 60% of residents at best, leaving many of the residents without adequate broadband. These findings echo what many residents already knew. In attendance at the Commission Voting Hearing were five longtime residents of Phelan who urged the commission to vote “yes” on resolution T-17525. The residents shared similar stories of poor or no connectivity and how the lack of service had negatively impacted their life and their community.
Support was not limited to the residents of the proposed grant area – once Frontier submitted their late challenge, Race Communications received support from elected officials and anchor institutions across the region as well as the state of California. Many of these had been supporters since 2014 when the project first became a reality after CEO, Raul Alcaraz confirmed that Race intended to submit a CASF application for the area.
Alcaraz was pleased with the decision and issued the following statement “After years of hard work from so many different parties we are excited and proud to see a well-deserved project get the approval necessary so we can get started. We have experienced first-hand the value of the CASF program and all that it brings to those who are involved. We look forward to Gigafying Phelan.”
The project is Race Communications’ tenth CASF grant. Phelan will be the second community in San Bernardino to receive service from Race, with Red Mountain (Part of the “Five Mining” project) being the first. In all of its projects, Race offers fiber-based internet plans that start at $25/month with their gigabit service costing just $60/month. Race also offers affordable, fiber-based phone and TV services in all of their project areas.
GIGAFY PHELAN: This morning, July 13, 2017 just past 10:00am, the California Public Utilities Commission passed the Gigafy Phelan Project with a vote of 4-1. Fiber-based gigabit internet is coming to Phelan, Pinon Hills, Oak Hills and parts of Hesperia.
After hearing testimony from community members, the commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of the resolution that would award Race Communications approximately $27.6 million—through a grant provided by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). Phelan will be the largest community served by a grant awarded to Race Communications.
The area was deemed a “high priority” area back in 2014, meaning the community currently does not meet the CASF minimum requirement of 6 Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload speeds. The project will serve over 7,600 household within a 98 square mile in an underserved area.
The award of the grant comes after months of delays and challenges from competitors such as Frontier who claim to be upgrading services in the area – something community members are claiming to be falsities. Phelan residents testified that they have not seen any trucks or work being done by Frontier in the area and that there was no way the claims being made by the company could be true. Residents pleaded with commissioners to approve the resolution on behalf of the community.
After some debate, the commissioners ended up approving resolution T-17525 “Gigafy Phelan”.
Race Communications wants to thank everyone who was part of this process and who helped make this possible!