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.
Race does our best to provide our customers excellent services and 2017 was a reflection of that. Well, the proof is in the pudding as Race Communications was just named the 2018 Large Business of the Year by the Tehachapi Chamber of Commerce and Tehachapi News. Here’s the article from The Tehachapi News, CLICK HERE.
Race provides fiber internet, TV and phone services for areas in Tehachapi with over 1,400 connected customers and counting. Race services are now live and available in the communities of Stallion Springs, Oak Knolls, Alpine Forest, Cummings Valley and Bear Valley Springs.
We are thankful for all of the support from the Greater Tehachapi community and are planning on doing even bigger things in 2018.
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.
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.
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.
Race Communications rolled into town in the new Race “GIGA-MOBILE” for the annual “Phelan Phamily Phun Days” in Phelan, CA. The event included a carnival, bands, performances and a number of vendor booths. Race team members participated alongside 20-25 other vendors, which included The Pizza Factory, Maui Wowi, CERT, The Desert Keepers, Metro PCS and more.
We had a BLAST and plan on attending many more events in the Phelan area during our “Gigafy Phelan” Fiber Internet Project. If you’d like to stay up to date with Race events and construction please fill out our Inquiry Form.
Race will also be making a huge announcement at our upcoming town hall meeting, so mark your calendars!
Race “Gigafy Phelan” Town Hall Meeting
Friday November, 17th from 6-8pm at the Piñon Mesa Middle School Auditorium
One of the unique aspects about Race Communications is that we strive to serve communities that larger carriers have long ignored. The projects in the Mono County and Five Mining Communities are great examples of what makes Race stand out from the rest. The quaint town of Johannesburg has traits of the old west as it inhabits families, scholars as well as business owners. Lee Vining is a friendly High Sierra community which is a popular tourist destination only minutes away from Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake, Bodie (the official state ghost town) and Mammoth Lakes. Lee Vining is a non-CASF project fully funded by Race Communications.
During the application process to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for these projects, Race contended that available broadband was insufficient and the communities voiced dissatisfaction with mobile broadband as a substitute for wired broadband. Main issues for the need of reliable broadband included data caps, lack of bandwidth and reliability for functional use for education, healthcare, economic competitiveness and public safety. Race’s Fiber Internet solves many of these issues.
The great news is that installations are just around the corner!
For those customers who already have placed orders in Mono County, drops and installations are scheduled to happen towards the end of October in the Crowley Lake, Aspen Springs, Mono City, Sunny Slopes, Tom’s Place and Lee Vining. The Five Mining Communities consisting of Johannesburg, Randsburg and Red Mountain will also begin drops and installations towards the end of October. If your order has already been placed, one of our Race team members will be calling to schedule installations. If you haven’t placed an order, GET GIGAFIED today! or call 1-877-722-3833.
We at Race would like to thank you for your patience and are excited to bring reliable and affordable internet to your community!
The Fall season has arrived and Race Communications will be in attendance at this year’s Phelan Phamily Phun Days, Friday through Sunday on October 13 – 15th. This is just one of many events that Race will be in attendance while we prepare to “Gigafy Phelan”. Come out to the Phelan Community Center & Park and look for our Race Communications booth, say hello, pick up some Race swag and have a great time.
Following suit with Race’s mission statement we focus on “providing reliable, high-speed internet and advanced communications at an affordable price.” Each one of our projects are uniquely different so we strive to get to know the communities that we end up serving. Race spent three years to get this project approved and we have some great things in store while we go through each stage of our fiber to premise (FTTP) process.
Phelan Phamily Phun Days is a long standing tradition in the Tri-Community which consists of Phelan, Piñon Hills, Wrightwood and the surrounding areas. There will be live entertainment, carnival rides and the crowning of Miss Phelan 2017. This is a three-day event for the whole family to enjoy.
We at Race Communications always strive to be transparent with the communities we serve. As most of our customers know, Race partners with the State of California and receives grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF). To date, Race has been awarded ten separate grants from the CASF to advance broadband adoption and infrastructure deployment in unserved and underserved areas consisting of over 16,000 households. The grants only cover a portion of the construction cost, up to 60% for most projects. That means Race funds the remaining amount.
The feedback from Race customers once they are connected has been tremendous and many are taken aback by how fast their internet speeds are (Figure 1). This leads to a lot of interest from nearby friends and family – some of whom live outside our coverage area. This is often followed by the following questions: “I live right down the street! Why can’t I get Race?” or “I have terrible internet, why aren’t you coming to my area?”.
Due to the requirements of CASF, we must serve the areas deemed unserved or underserved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). According to the CPUC, an underserved area is defined as follows: where broadband is available, but no wireline or wireless facilities-based provider offers service at advertised speeds of at least 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps upload. This means that on occasion, we will be asked to remove an area from our initial application.
Let’s use our newest approved CASF project in Phelan, CA as an example. We call it the “swiss cheese” effect (Figure 2).
As you can see by the coverage map in blue, there are gaps and pockets that are not within the coverage area. Those areas are deemed “served” by the CPUC, meaning that these areas have broadband available at speeds of at least 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps upload. This means that the CPUC has performed speed tests in the area which show that the minimum speed requirements have been met. In other instances, another carrier may claim to provide service in that area. This will disqualify an area from receiving CASF funding for broadband upgrades.
We at Race know that this doesn’t always mean the entire area has adequate coverage and broadband connectivity can be lacking or even non-existent – therefore we evaluate building to the areas taken out as a separate project. Lee Vining, CA in Mono County is one such community. The entire town of Lee Vining was removed from a previous CASF application, but due to the location of our infrastructure and the level of interest from the community, Race decided to build a fiber-to-the-home network to the community. The project was 100% self-funded.
So if you happen to fall outside our coverage area, don’t lose hope. This doesn’t mean that you will not receive service from Race – it simply means that your area doesn’t fall under the CASF guidelines and will not be built as part of a CASF-funded project. It doesn’t mean that Race won’t expand service as part of a separate project in the future [if the demand is there and existing infrastructure makes it possible]. We encourage those who live outside our coverage areas to submit an “Out of Area” inquiry form at www.race.com/inquiry. Race engineers are constantly reevaluating possible expansions to our coverage areas.