RANCHO SANTA FE — While the Rancho Santa Fe Association held its monthly board meeting on Oct. 5, election inspector Bruce Bishop and his staff were counting ballots from a community-wide vote.
Bishop reported that from a total of 959 ballots, with 19 invalid, 799 voted “yes” to approve RSF Connect. The fiber-optic network will be built and maintained by the RSF Association and provide high-speed 1-Gigabit-per-second internet service to every house in the Covenant.
Now with community approval, the next step is to submit plans to the county for a 90-day permitting process in November.
The estimated cost to build the network is $13 million to $14 million with an underground fiber installation.
The RSF Association mailed off ballots on Sept. 11 which were due back at the Association by Oct. 4. Every household received one vote, including condominium owners. The Association encouraged Covenant residents to vote since this was a community investment.
The goal of RSF Connect is to offer advanced and reliable internet service for the next 50 years.
Henkels & McCoy designed RSF Connect, and San Diego County has already approved the project concept.
According to Association Manager Bob Hall, Henkels & McCoy is finalizing the construction design with a completion date set for the end of October 2017.
Funding for the project is twofold. A total of $8 million will be withdrawn from the Association’s Fiber Optic Fund, and the balance will be paid off in a 10-year bank loan.
Hall said the hope is to receive a permit from the county in 2018 with the RSF Connect project starting the first quarter of 2018. Project completion will take 18 to 24 months.