Thinking about breaking out your shovel?

Calling 811 can save you some trouble!

Race Communications recently experienced a major interruption in service throughout California due to a cut fiber line. Cut fiber lines tend to occur during this time of year as this glorious warm weather is a great motivator when it comes to getting home-improvement projects done!

Whether you’re finally getting around to fixing up the patio or you’re adding a new and improved garage or shed, calling 811 should be your very first step! You never know what may be lurking underground.

Water, gas, and electricity are just some of the utilities that may be underground on your property – not to mention your precious fiber lines for internet and phone services. Surely you wouldn’t want to disrupt your service (or your neighbor’s service)! In order to avoid a major headache in the form of a burst water pipe or electrical outage, be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you plan to dig. 

The 811 call center will then ensure that all public utilities are notified about the upcoming dig on your property. You may be asked to mark the area you plan to dig with white paint or white flags, which can be found at many hardware stores.

Then, each organization, either by themselves or via a hired third-party, will mark the area of each utility. Each type of utility has a different color so that you will know what is where. Not sure what the colors are? Here’s a quick recap:

The designated color for drinking water is blue; sewer is green, and gas, oil and steam are all marked yellow. Red is the color for electrical utilities and orange signifies communications – like internet, telephone and TV.

When you call 811, they will also mark for public utilities which are the ones that use the public right of way (or easement) to your house. You’ll need to keep an extra eye out for these as these lines could be responsible for providing service to entire neighborhoods.

So again, don’t break out that shovel before you make the call to 811! Be prepared that the representative will ask you some questions in order to process your request, including your address and nearby cross streets, city, county, the type and scope of the digging project, and a contact number. Now, what are you waiting for? Better get started on that “honey-do” list!

Gigafy your life, Gigafy your business!

Our projects don’t just consist of homes and families that need better connectivity – our communities are also filled with small business owners. We know that adequate broadband is a necessity for businesses in today’s digital age and we can’t wait to see what many of the local business owners can do with our ultra-high speed Internet.

With our expansion into new communities, we feel that we should address and clarify some key differences between residential services and business offerings.

  • Our business plans are not just limited to commercial buildings – if you live and work from home (content writer, graphic designer, web developer, etc) and feel that a business plan may be right for you then you are welcomed to sign up for our business broadband services.
  • A key difference between business and residential plans is that while Race offers static IP addresses, it is only offered to businesses. Unfortunately, Race does not offer static IP options for residential customers. So if you need a static IP, a business plan is the way to go.
  • While we only offer two plans for residential customers, Race offers a variety of plans for businesses starting at just $60/month.
  • Race offers fiber-based phone service for the highest-quality voice calls. Our unlimited phone lines come with nationwide calling and very low international rates. Our business plans are just $35/month – that is a bargain compared to any of our competitors!
  • We have dedicated business representatives that can assist you every step of the way – from order to install!

We also offer broadband services and tailored solutions for enterprise clients – for a business or enterprise quote, contact Chris Hajj at 877-722-3833 and dial extension 129.

 

The thing about construction is…

It is a moving target! With larger projects such as our “Gigafy Phelan” project, construction will hit the ground running in all areas at once. However, construction can only occur once engineering and permits have been completed. This means that our crews will work on multiple zones at once, but release dates can be delayed or changed if there are engineering or permitting delays.

We do our best to keep everyone informed of the release dates and can sometimes be hesitant to share too much, we do so to avoid disappointment in the communities we serve.

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning. From start to finish there are 4 main phases to our process, each with its own sub-steps and processes.

1. Research and Exploration.
We spend a lot of time in this phase, developing a construction plan for the communities we are researching and working with local authorities on permitting and other issues.

2. Design.
We use the data gathered to create a map of where we can build based on existing infrastructure and obstacles.

3. Construction.
This is the step you see the most. Once our plans are complete, our crews get straight to work laying and splicing miles of fiber.

4. Sign up and Installation.
Once our construction is almost complete, we will release our order form for your region, and you can choose the services you want for your home or business. This will initiate the installation process which has its own steps.

Next up for release are the following zones and projects – exact release dates will be given in the coming weeks:

Bridgeport: Late August
Walker: Late August
Phelan – Gold Zone: Mid to late September
Phelan – Peach Zone: Early to mid-October

If you live in Phelan and want to learn more about what zone you are in, please visit our “Gigafy Phelan” coverage map

Race Communications’ Summer Review.

2018 has been filled with releases, events, and expansion for Race Communications. In May, the company officially opened a new office in Tehachapi, CA where the company has a strong fiber footprint in the outlying communities of Stallion Springs, Brite Valley, Oak Knolls and Bear Valley Springs. Race has hired several local residents to build their marketing and sales team and is revving up their efforts in their service areas in the High Desert and Central Valley.

The month of May also brought the release of the first part of the “Gigafy Phelan” project, a hard-fought project that was approved in July 2017, after years of challenges and obstacles.

Since June 2018, Race has installed 98% of the residents who had previously inquired about service in the released zone – the release came two full months ahead of the initial target date of August 2018. “Gigafy Phelan” was not the only project to be released – the “Gigafy Occidental” project in Northern California was also released and installs began immediately. At this time over 70 percent of the community has signed up for services from Race.

The release of these communities has given Race the momentum to continue their expansion and Race opened a new field operations office in Phelan, CA and marked the occasion with a BBQ Kick-Off and ribbon cutting ceremony on June 21st. The company was recognized by Congressman Cook’s office for their efforts in the area and for their continued work in rural unserved and underserved areas across the state.

 

Race looks forward to the second half of 2018 and continued progress. Race is on a mission to provide affordable high-speed broadband to the communities where larger carriers have ignored the needs of the residents. Race will continue to support net-neutrality, promote broadband access and adoption, and will continue to seek out new projects in unserved and underserved regions in California.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to those who have chosen Race as their new service provider as we could not have done this without you. Our customers are part of the Race family, and we look forward to providing our customers with the newest technology and the friendly customer service they have come to know.  Stay tuned for more exciting news from Race as the year progresses!

 

What does it take to get installed?

Bringing our services to a community is a resource-intensive project that requires careful research and planning. From start to finish there are 4 main phases of our process, each with its own sub-steps and processes.

  1. Research and Exploration.
    We spend a lot of time in this phase, developing a construction plan for the communities we are researching and working with local authorities on permitting and other issues.
  2. Design.
    We use the data gathered to create a map of where we can build based on existing infrastructure and obstacles.
  3. Construction.
    This is the step you see the most. Once our plans are complete, our crews get straight to work laying and splicing miles of fiber.
  4. Sign up and Installation.
    Once our construction is almost complete, we will release our order form for your region, and you can choose the services you want for your home or business. This will initiate the installation process which has its own steps.

A Preliminary Site Survey is Conducted

Race field engineers survey homes throughout a project area (for example Occidental or Phelan), house by house and make an initial determination as to whether a home is an aerial or underground installation.

The Steps to bringing you Fiber:

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.

We Call Customers that have submitted an inquiry
This information is handed over to our communications team who will reach out to homeowners who have inquired about Race services.

To Submit an inquiry, go to https://www.race.com/inquiry/ .

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.