What is the digital divide, and how can we bridge it?

The digital divide has come to the center of attention during the last two years. The pandemic exposed the gaps in internet service with the need to work from home and go to school virtually. As a result, it’s more apparent that the internet has become a must-have for our daily lives. However, many people still don’t have access to high-speed internet, leading to inequality. Because of that, the digital divide is something we are working relentlessly to close. Today, we’ll define the digital divide and how we’re acting to bridge it. 

What is the digital divide?

The digital divide is the gap between those who can use technology and those who cannot. It’s a problem that has been around for years, but it’s come into the spotlight more recently with the pandemic. In addition, the need to suddenly work from home or do virtual school has exposed the gaps in internet service for many people.

The internet has become critical for modern life, but many people still don’t have access to it. An estimated 42 million Americans can’t purchase broadband internet for reasons ranging from financial, geographic, and service limitations. The lack of access to the internet divides society and limits opportunities for those who don’t have the internet. Because of this, we are working relentlessly to close the digital divide, and today we’ll share what it is.

Factors that Impact the Digital Divide

Cost

Internet and computer devices can be expensive, putting them out of reach for many people. As inflation rises, 64% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Extra expenses like high-speed internet can be the difference between food on the table or not. At Race, we offer affordable high-speed internet to help combat the digital divide. 

Race and Ethnicity 

Race can also impact the digital divide. Minorities are more likely to live in poverty, with 25.4% of Native Americans and 20.8% of African Americans living in poverty, nearly doubly the poverty rate of their white neighbors (10.1%). Living in poverty undoubtedly makes it harder to afford internet and computer devices. Additionally, areas of high poverty typically don’t have access to the same quality of education. This lack of quality can often limit a school’s ability to use and teach technology.

Education 

When the pandemic hit and schools went virtual, more than a quarter of K–12 students (29%) lacked reliable internet access in spring 2020, leaving them without a path forward to learn. However, many school districts or parents in higher-income areas were able to provide students with the tools necessary to succeed. Unfortunately, this left a gap in the education in communities that were not well-funded, leading to a less than quality education. We need to ensure everyone has access to quality education and the technology to make it possible. 

Location 

Your location also plays a role in access. Many rural areas of the country still do not have access to high-speed internet. Geographical location played a big part in the problems with accessibility during the pandemic as people who lived in rural areas struggled to work from home or do virtual school. According to the Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults, roughly seven-in-ten rural Americans (72%) say they have a broadband internet connection at home. 

How does it affect society?

The digital divide affects society in several ways. In short, it creates unfairness and limits opportunities for those who don’t have the internet. Let’s explore how it does this further. 

Social Isolation

The divide can lead to social isolation. People without the internet are cut off from communication and information easily accessible to others. 

Limits Job Opportunities

The digital divide has a significant effect on the workplace. In today’s job market, increased computer skill levels are a prerequisite. However, the demand for these skills creates unfairness in society and limits opportunities for those who don’t have them. 

For example, many job applications are online, so you’re already at a disadvantage if you don’t have internet access. In addition, having the money to have a computer with a webcam and high-speed internet to work from home on zoom calls presents a barrier to entry. 

Impacts education 

25% of students lack an adequate internet connection. The lack of access became a glaringly obvious problem during the pandemic when kids across the country moved to virtual learning. Unfortunately, many homes were not set up with the equipment or internet services to make a move to online learning. However, that isn’t the only challenge. Many homework assignments now utilize the internet leaving kids behind who don’t have access. 

What is being done to close the digital divide?

At Race, we’re committed to closing the digital divide and ensuring everyone has access to the internet. We’re doing this by working with government, industry, and community partners to:

  • Increase access to affordable broadband
  • Improve digital literacy
  • Connect people in underserved communities

We know that we can’t close the digital divide alone, so we’re working with our partners. Here are some ways we are working together to bridge the divide. 

California Advanced Services Fund (CASF)

The California Public Utilities Commission has helped bridge the digital divide through the use of the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) since 2008. CASF helps bring broadband to underserved and unserved communities throughout California, aiming to close the digital divide. The goal is to close the digital divide by bringing broadband to 98% of households in each consortia region by December 31, 2022. 

Internet Act For All 

The Internet Act For All was reintroduced in the house on 3/11/2021. The act will make high-speed broadband internet service accessible and affordable to all Americans. In addition, the bill will provide discounts on broadband for low-income consumers and subsidize the internet for schools and libraries. The Internet Act for All is a significant step forward to bridge the digital divide. 

Computer Literacy Training 

Many cities, libraries, and companies offer free digital literacy training to bridge the divide. These classes work to give everyone foundational skills that will help achieve equity at school and work closing and is a pivotal part of eliminating the digital divide. 

How Race is Working to Bridge the Digital Divide 

Race is dedicated to providing reliable, accessible, high-speed internet by building new fiber networks and infrastructures. We worked to bring our fiber optic networks to underserved or unserved communities so they can have equal access. 

Race Communications works with the California Public Utilities Commission and other advocacy groups to build new networks in these communities. Race has received California grants to cover up to 60 percent of construction costs, including the labor, equipment, and materials required to bring fiber or cable internet to a region; however, it does not include operational costs. 

Final Thoughts

The digital divide is a problem that has been around for years, but it’s come into the spotlight more recently with the pandemic. The need to work from home and participate in virtual school exposed the gaps in internet service for many people. At Race, we’re working hard to close the digital divide and ensure everyone has access to the internet. Closing the digital divide will create more opportunities and a better society. 

Moving to Lancaster, CA? Everything You Need Is In This All-Inclusive Guide

Are you moving to Lancaster, CA? Then this blog is just what you need to make your move a success. Lancaster, CA is one of the best places to live in the US. It’s located just north of Los Angeles, nestled in the western Mojave desert’s Antelope Valley. 

Recently. The growing city recently claimed a spot on the Top 100 Places to Live. Livability awarded Lancaster a spot due to its thriving economy, a community rich in culture and diversity, and dedication to environmental protection. In addition, this growing city is one of the more affordable places the golden state offers, and the sun is always shining.

In case you haven’t heard, Race Communications is excited to bring our network and high-speed fiber internet to Lancaster in the fall of 2022. In celebration of this, we are bringing you a guide to moving to Lancaster. Here are some helpful tips and everything you need to know about moving to Lancaster. By the end of this blog, you’ll feel like a local! 

Moving to Lancaster, CA Poppy Field

Population

Lancaster is currently home to a population of 160K residents (give or take). 

Weather

Lancaster is in the Mojave desert. The hot season ranging from June to September is hot and arid, with daily temps rising well into the 90s. Winter lasts from late November to March, with mild daytime temperature in the 60-70s, dropping at night into the 30s. 

Cost of Living 

Compared to most cities in California, Lancaster is a relatively affordable place to live but still only 73 miles outside of LA. The median household income is $55,237, and the median home price is $385,400. This price may seem high to some moving from other areas but keep in mind that California has a median home price of $834,000, so it’s much lower than the state average!

Moving to Lancaster, CA Sustainability

Sustainability Practices

The city has been working towards a more sustainable future since 1994 when the City Council adopted the Blue Skies Program and a resolution to use alternative fuels whenever possible. Ever since these programs came into place, the city has continued to develop environmentally friendly practices. 

To date, 22% of the city’s fleet of cars and pickups run on alternative fuel. Lancaster also practices water conservation by implementing xeriscaping and other ordinances to combat water wasting and encourage minimum water use. The city has won many awards for its efforts, including the prestigious World Energy Global Award.

moving to Lancaster, CA school districts

Lancaster, CA School Districts 

There are three major school districts in the city: the Lancaster School District, Eastside Union School District, and Antelope Valley High School District. Each district provides outstanding educational opportunities. 

The Lancaster School District spans 82.5 square miles, most of which lies within the city of Lancaster. The district is home to more than 15,000 students from preschool to 12th grade. Their mission is to provide a relevant, high-quality education within an inclusive and culturally respectful environment that prepares all students for personal and professional success. 

Eastside Union School District is Antelope Valley’s older school district. The district goes by the vision “Everyone contributes, every student achieves.” This school district is much smaller than other districts consisting of four elementary schools, one middle school, and one transitional learning center. However, the district is growing and excited about its future. 

Antelope Valley High School District is unique because it only consists of high schools. The district is made of eight traditional and three alternative high schools, plus SOAR, the early college high school on the Antelope Valley College Campus. The district also has online learning programs. There are 23,000 students in this district from Palmdale and Lancaster. Antelope Valley’s vision is to make sure every student who graduates will be prepared to pursue college and any career they aspire to. 

Moving to Lancaster, CA The BLVD

Things to Do 

There are many activities and places to see right in Lancaster. Let’s explore a few of our favorites below. 

The Famous California Poppy Festival

Lancaster is well known for the California Poppy Festival, which is set to return after two years with an even bigger event lasting three days to celebrate the vibrant state flower. The festival will boast live entertainment, amusement park rides, and activities for the whole family. 

Saddleback Butte State Park

If you’re a nature enthusiast, this next destination is for you. Saddleback Butte State Park is located in the high-desert just fifteen miles east of Lancaster.. In the state park, you’ll find Joshua Trees, desert plants, and animals surrounding the Saddleback Butte. In addition, the state part provides areas for hiking, camping, and 360-degree views of Antelope Valley and the Mojave Desert. 

The Lancaster Museum of Art and History 

Head to the Lancaster Museum of Art and History if you appreciate art. The museum holds a collection of over 10,000 artworks and artifacts, many of which celebrate the history of Southern California. MOAH also produces community-oriented programming that engages diverse audiences. Additionally, check out the Lancaster Performing Arts Center provides world-class entertainment to the city’s residents and is the largest performing arts center in Antelope Valley.

Hit the BLVD

The BLVD Cultural District has been the heart of culture in Antelope Valley since the 1800s. Packed with colorful murals and rich history, the district is home to innovative green initiatives, including electric vehicle charging stations and solar waste compactors. This bustling district is also home to a growing number of events, including weekly farmers’ markets and concerts. In addition, there are many locally-owned businesses and exciting restaurants to experience on the BLVD! 

Close Proximity to Major SoCal Cities

While Lancaster has a lot to keep you entertained, the city is also close in proximity to many other urban hubs. For example, Los Angeles is only 2 hours away, and San Diego is about 3 hours away. If you want to head to the ocean, Santa Monica Beach is the closest. Need a family getaway? Disneyland is just 2.5 hours away! 

Final Thoughts

Lancaster is a great place to live. It’s a thriving city full of things to do, great local culture, and is close to other major destinations in California!

If you are moving to the city and in need of reliable and fast internet, inquire now to join our waitlist! We’d love to help take your internet services to the next level. Contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry to be the first to know when Race is available in your part of town!

What Goes Into Construction Of A Fiber Network? The Basics, Phases, and Beyond!

There is so much that goes into the construction of fiber networks. It’s a complex process that requires work long before that first shovel hits the ground. We touched on the process briefly when we explained the entire process of getting fiber internet to your city. But today, we’re diving deep into fiber construction and how a network is built. We’ll cover the basics, what needs to happen before, and exactly how it connects to your house below. If you’ve ever wondered how your high-speed fiber internet gets to your home, this is the blog for you! 

construction of fiber internet - man on computer

Construction Of A Fiber Network: The Basics

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to construct a fiber network, let’s look at the two ways we can install a fiber network when coming to a city. 

Underground Installation 

This is when fiber cables are installed underground. Underground installation is the preferred way to install fiber networks as the cables are more protected from elements. Additionally, residents like it better because you won’t be able to see your newly installed lines.

Aerial Installation 

There are times when it’s simply not possible or cost-effective to install fiber cables underground. In this case, we go above and use aerial installations. The aerial method uses polls to install lines in the air. 

Construction Of A Fiber Network Design Phase

Construction Of A Fiber Network: Research 

Build the Roadmap 

Now that you have the basics let’s talk about research. Before starting fiber construction, we need to develop a building roadmap. Our team of engineers researches the area in depth to determine the best path forward and uncover potential challenges. On average, this process takes two to three months. The first step in the process is to look at the existing telecommunications infrastructure. Depending on how the infrastructure is laid out, it can help or hinder the construction process. For example, an internet service provider can sometimes run cables through existing telecom ducts. This makes installation easier but often more expensive if competitors own the ducts. Typically, they’ll charge expensive fees to access them.

Examine the Landscape 

Additionally, engineers need to study the terrain. Landscapes with soils that are hard to dig like clay make for a more expensive and time-intensive project to make a deep enough trench. It could be determined it makes more sense to go above ground and install an aerial line in an area like this. 

Construction Of A Fiber Network - creating a roadmap

Construction Of A Fiber Network: Design

Once the initial research phase is complete, it’s time to design the infrastructure. Internet service providers take the research learnings and map out the fiber network at this stage. Creating the infrastructure typically takes three months. 

Map out the Network

The network will consist of routing thousands of miles of cable, and all those miles need to avoid existing electrical, sewer, and water pipelines. Plus, if there are railroads in the area, the fiber construction will need to be planned around it. Additionally, natural elements like tree roots need to be avoided. 

Permitting

After making the initial map for fiber construction, providers must go through permitting and approvals with the state and local government. These approvals allow providers access to utility easements within the area of construction. However, they don’t allow access to everything- if fiber construction needs to happen on private property such as an apartment community, we’ll need to gain those rights too. It’s important to note that permitting times vary greatly depending on who processes the permits. Some permits take six weeks, while others take up to six months. 

Construction Of A Fiber Network: Construction

After the design phase is complete and approvals have taken place, the construction begins! Despite previously laying out the roadmap, this is often the part of the process we see the most delays. 

Bad Weather

Weather is the biggest threat to delays in fiber construction. You can’t expose fiber lines to certain elements such as rain or snow. It could cause harm to the network before it is even fully deployed. Additionally, we can’t send our team out in unsafe conditions, so there will be delays like most construction projects if the weather doesn’t cooperate. 

Limited Resources

Resources can also cause delays. Like many other industries, fiber construction is impacted by labor shortages and the supply chain. While this is not a consistent problem, it can occur. Time constraints are another limitation. Cities don’t want construction running 24/7 and disrupting their citizens, so often permits have specific times and days that we can work. 

Unforeseen Circumstances

Lastly, though we do everything in our power to plan and predict roadblocks, once we start the process, there can be unforeseen circumstances that cause delays. For example, 

Testing the Network

Now that construction is wrapping up, it’s time to test the network. To ensure everything is in working order, we’ll test light levels from the optic network terminals and ensure all equipment is operating at our standards. Once we put the network through several tests and checks, we can mark construction as complete. 

Construction Of A Fiber Network connecting internet to homes

Finally, connect it to you! 

The final step is connecting it to all the households! Sometimes you may notice your neighbors get installed ahead of you. This can happen for several reasons. For example, if your neighbor has an aerial connection, but you have an underground connection, it might take a little longer. Additionally, you may experience delays in service if you are a renter and need to provide written authorization from your landlord to get service. 

Key Takeaways: Construction of Fiber Networks

As you can see, there are many steps to creating a fiber network and bringing our high-speed internet into communities. It’s an involved process that takes research and discovery to ensure everything is done safely and efficiently. Below are some key takeaways from how we construct fiber networks. 

  • There are two types of installation: aerial above ground and underground installation. 
  • Before any digging can start, there is a design and research phase. These phases combined take anywhere from 4-6 months to complete. Race ensures the fiber network has a clear road map to make construction a smooth process in this phase. 
  • Construction can experience delays such as inclement weather, permitting, and more. Be patient. We promise you’ll love the end product! 

Ready to get gigified? Learn more and check out our services or contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 to see what we offer in your area! 

What’s the Best Type of Internet for You? Everything You Need to Know Before You Choose

There are many types of internet – and they are definitely not created equal! When you’re choosing an internet service, it’s essential to understand the types of internet available to you. Knowing what each kind is and its strengths and weaknesses allow you to make the best choice for your needs. Today we’re exploring the five most common types of internet and everything you need to know about them. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to choose the best type of internet for you. Let’s go!

Fiber Internet

Top Speeds: 10Gbps- the equivalent of 10,000 Mbps

Ideal For: Modern homes and businesses that require high speeds and ample bandwidth 

Currently, Fiber internet is the fastest internet connection you can get. It’s considered the most cutting-edge type of internet and uses fiber optic cables filled with tiny strands of glass to send information. The information is sent via bursts of light which transmits data at about 70% of the speed of light. Fiber is an excellent option for people who need high bandwidth as it provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as other types of internet. 

If the speeds aren’t enough to convince you that fiber internet is an excellent opinion, fiber is also one of the most stable internet connections. This is because it doesn’t use electricity or depend on clear skies to send signals and data. 

Cable Internet 

Top Speeds:

Ideal For: Homes and businesses that do not have access to Fiber internet or need a lower-cost option that still has high speeds. 

Cable internet is arguably the most popular type of internet in the United States. It’s widely available and uses copper wires to send data over electrical currents. These are the same types of cables used for phone lines and cable TV.  Most providers use existing cable lines to transmit internet signals making it widely available to homes and businesses. While it cannot keep up with the speeds Fiber internet brings, it is often a lower-cost option and can provide enough speed for most homes. 

Cable struggles with bandwidth as it is based on older technology designed to transmit voice calls. Its speeds are also asymmetrical, meaning the download speeds (think streaming a TV show) are faster than its upload speeds (think uploading a video to the cloud). It wasn’t created for the demands the internet has now. Additionally, cable internet is transmitted via electrical currents making it more susceptible to outages due to power or extreme weather conditions. 

DSL

Top Speeds: 5- 35Mbps 

Ideal For: Rural areas that don’t have access to fiber or cable internet. Also suitable for homes with limited users that only browse the internet and check email. 

Similar to Cable internet, DSL, or digital subscriber line, sends data through electrical currents. However, DSL uses the same wires as your telephone to bring high-speed internet to your home. The signal is then distributed to your modem, which converts the signal to the internet. DSL can be installed anywhere a phone jack is present, making it an easily accessible internet solution and a good option for rural areas.

It can be a good solution for homes or businesses with limited users and devices connected to the internet. For example, if you just use your internet to browse and check your email, this option could work for you. However, it’s not the best option for working from home video conferencing, gaming on the internet, or heavily streaming.

Satellite 

Top Speeds: 100-150 Mbps 

Ideal For: Very rural or remote locations that cannot get internet connections other ways. 

Satellite Broadband is a type of internet you can get from anywhere in the world. The internet is sent over radio waves which communicate with your provider’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via satellites in space. Because of how far the data has to travel to bring data to your devices, it is a slower form of internet and not ideal for an average home or business. Additionally, like satellite TV, this type of internet is affected by heavy rains or snow that block or interfere with the signals. 

This type of connection is often used for very rural areas that don’t have access to any other type of internet. Satellite internet can reach almost anywhere and is available to 99% of the US population. You can get it just about anywhere. Outdoor events and festivals also use it when there is no access to cable lines. While Satellite internet can’t match the speeds of Cable, Fiber, or DSL, it provides internet access where otherwise would not be possible. 

Dial-Up 

Top Speeds: 56 kbit/s

Ideal For: Budget-conscious homes that only use the internet for basic tasks.

Dial-Up is one of the first types of home internet service. It uses a phone line and analog modem to access the internet and dials the internet service provider using the phone line connection. If you used the internet in the 90s, you might remember only being able to use the phone or internet at a time because they shared the connection. Dial-Up is an antiquated type of internet and is not viable for most modern homes. It is the slowest of all connections and can only do fundamental activities such as checking email. 

For this reason, it’s not a popular type of internet. Only 3% of Americans still use it. This small percentage of users choose dial-up due to the low cost or because it’s the only option in their area. 

Types of Internet Recap

As you can see from above, there are many types of internet. Choose the type that works best for your situation. Here’s a quick recap: 

  • In most cases, if fiber or cable is available, that will be the best choice for a modern home or business
  • If you live in a highly rural area, live traveling in an RV Satellite Internet may be a good choice
  • Talk to your internet service provider if you aren’t sure which is best for you. They will help you navigate the types of internet and make suggestions based on your specific needs. 

What is Fiber Internet? 

What is Fiber Internet? Is it really that much better than DSL, Cable, or Satellite internet services? Fiber Internet is growing in popularity, and the technology has become the gold standard for fast, reliable, and high-quality internet. In this article, we explore how fiber internet works, its availability, benefits, and more. If you have found yourself asking, “What is Fiber Internet” you’re in the right place. Let’s go! 

What Is Fiber Internet? 

Fiber internet uses cutting-edge light technology to deliver data. Fiber optic cables are used to send information through bursts of light. The light travels much like electricity would through a copper wire, but much faster closer to the speed of light! This type of internet reaches speeds we haven’t been able to achieve with other forms of internet, it is also more reliable. 

what is fiber internet - fiber optic cables

Fiber Optic Cables 

Fiber optic cables set this type of internet apart. Cable internet uses copper wires, but fiber internet uses cables that consist of tiny strands of glass. The strands send data through pulses of light. Fiber cables send data quickly at about 70% of the speed of light. They can also send more data at once than cable, DSL, or Satellite internet. 

Is it available everywhere? 

Fiber is a newer internet technology and is currently not available everywhere. According to the FCC, about 39% of the US has access to fiber internet. That number is going up, but it’s a slow process to bring fiber internet to a city. In order to do so, many steps need to take place, including extensive research, planning, and construction. 

At Race, we understand the importance of bringing Fiber to communities. That is why we are committed to bringing high-quality, affordable internet infrastructure to communities across the state of California. Learn more about our areas of coverage here

what is fiber internet

What are the Benefits?

Greater speeds

Fiber optic cables can allow data to travel at a much higher speed than cable, DSL, or satellite internet. Fiber can reach speeds up to 2,000 Mbps. These speeds are much faster than your average cable internet. A faster connection allows for a better experience, whether you are on an important video meeting or streaming your favorite movie in 4K, higher speeds will create a smooth experience without any troublesome buffering. 

Higher bandwidth 

In today’s world, we are constantly connected. The average American has more than ten connected devices (think of how many phones, computers, TVs are connected in your house). Our super-connected life demands higher bandwidth to handle these devices. Fiber internet can meet these needs and provides up to 1,000 times as much bandwidth as cable internet. 

More Reliable 

Fiber internet is not affected by the weather. Fiber is water-resistant, and temperatures do not affect its performance. It is also less susceptible to power outages or electromagnetic interference because it uses pulses of light instead of electricity to transfer data, unlike cable.

Do I need fiber internet? 

The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you require higher speeds, more bandwidth, and better reliability, then Fiber Internet may be an excellent option for you. However, if you aren’t sure we recommend talking to your internet provider to determine the best option. There are many variables and individual needs vary. If you’re ready to learn more about our internet services, contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry. Our team will help you pick the right service for you.  

To learn more about Fiber Vs. Cable Internet read our blog, Fiber or Cable Internet  – Which is Best for You? 

What is Fiber Internet: Key Takeaways 

In summary, fiber internet is an excellent option for today’s homes and businesses alike. Let’s review the key takeaways from this article below: 

  • Fiber internet uses fiber optic cables made of glass strands that send data through light. 
  • Fiber Internet has soaring speeds, and reliable fiber internet can meet modern demands. 
  • Fiber is not available everywhere yet, so check with your local provider to see if it is an option for you. 

If you are interested in learning more, check out our services or contact our specialists at 877-722-3833 to see what we offer in your area!