RANCHO SANTA FE — In May, the Rancho Santa Fe Association signed a $13.5 million letter of intent (LOI) with Hotwire Communications in an effort to bring a community-owned proposed fiber-to-the-home network for its Covenant members. Connectivity options ranged from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit internet service to every Covenant home.
During the RSF Association’s October board meeting, it was revealed that the proposal was reassessed during an executive session and a decision to end the contract with Hotwire emerged. RSF Association President Fred Wasserman approached the topic to their members.
In the executive session they had earlier that morning between the Finance Committee, Technology Committee and the Board, Wasserman said, they discussed the issue of the Hotwire contract.
“It was the conclusion of the group, all committees and Board members present, that the current LOI, letter of intent, is not satisfactory,” Wasserman said. He continued, “Now, that gives us an option to look at some other alternatives as well, if need be, and that’s where we’re at. Let me tell you something — we are moving ahead with a fiber-optic project here. We’re going to do it right, we’re going to do it carefully and we’re going to bring it on budget.”
Wasserman went on to say that this is a very important item to the community.
He also mentioned the amount of calls both he and the board receive regarding connectivity.
Wasserman shared how he had a call not too long ago from a member.
“He builds a $5 million house in here but has virtually no connectivity and is very upset about it,” said Wasserman, noting the phone call.
Wasserman also wanted everyone to know how another individual approached him on the same issue. This particular member was postponing their remodel until they were certain of connectivity.
“So this is a very, very important process and we’ll keep you informed as we go along,” Wasserman said.
RSF Association Director Allen Finkelson echoed what Wasserman expressed stating that the board and committees could not reach a satisfactory definitive agreement with Hotwire.
He added that it was their belief that they would not be able to arrive at definitive documentation which would be satisfactory to the committees, the board or the members.
“We can’t just unilaterally terminate this deal with Hotwire, so what we’re going to do is tell them where we are and try to reach a mutual agreement on termination,” he said.
And Finkelson believed that would happen.
Finkelson also pointed out that the next step was to quickly form a new Technology Committee, which would be dedicated to bring the fiber-optic project to the Covenant as soon as possible.
During public comment, it was asked whether or not future technology meetings would be open for members to attend.
Wasserman explained that a chairperson of a committee has the prerogative to close the meeting. For example, if it’s a contract item of an executive session that could be a closed meeting.
So essentially, it’s up to the chairperson of that meeting.
“Let me tell you this,” Wasserman said. “There will be lots of visibility on this project and transparency. You will hear of every step along the way, you’ll know exactly what’s going on and you’ll have plenty of opportunity for input.”