Race Communications has been chosen as the internet service provider to deliver high-speed internet service to RSF Connect, a 1-gigabit fiber-optic network to be built and owned by the Rancho Santa Fe Association. RSF Connect will provide internet service, wireless capabilities, telecommunications and other features to every community member and business within the Covenant.
In 2017, numerous internet service providers submitted proposals. Race Communications was recommended by the Association’s Technology Committee for the project. In April 2018, the board approved its agreement with Race.
During the April 5 board meeting, Association Assistant Manager Arnold Keene said the ISP agreement with Race Communications was a significant milestone. He introduced Raul Alcarez, the founder and CEO of Race Communications, and invited him to say a few words.
Alcarez said Race Communications was in existence for 20 years and has built networks for the past decade.
“This is something we have a lot of experience in,” said Alcarez, noting the company has been working with the Association for the last three years. “We have the abilities to bring you state-of-the-art service.”
Alcarez said Race Communications has been working with the county and the Association’s Tech Committee. The company wanted to make sure it would be covering the needs of Covenant residents.
Alcarez said they the company is looking to starting on RSF Connect after the Association board chooses the construction company to build the network.
The Association is expected to issue a request for proposal to interested contactors in May with the goal of choosing one in the following month. Keene said the RFP for the construction is something the board is currently pushing.
“When the county issues the final permits, we can break ground,” Keene said.
The project is anticipated to take two years to finish with the hope of starting in summer 2018.
The financial commitment for RSF Connect is $14 million.
Keene said RSF Connect has been a collaborative effort with hardworking members who have a lot of skill. He added the conduit plans are still with the county and under review. He anticipated it would be completed in a couple of weeks.
Additionally, the fiber design was submitted recently and is undergoing an internal review. Also discussion is how to proceed with private roads and easements since RSF Connect is an underground project, Keene said.
“The Tech Committee is looking at this in depth — how to get the fiber up those streets,” he said.
The board was pleased with Keene’s update. He was then asked where in the Covenant the project would start. Keene said it was all about looking at the county roads, which would be scheduled for paving.
“We want to beat the repaving project,” he said, adding there is a two-year moratorium after the roads are paved which prevent them from digging. “That is the priority right now.”
Keene also shared that county funding for repaving the roads has substantially increased.
Board Vice President Ken Markstein asked if RSF Connect could be fired up as they go.
Alcarez said his company turns on the network when the construction is completed. He also noted that Race Communications team members will go to each home beforehand to assess if there is an existing conduit.
The decision to have RSF Connect came from a community-wide vote last year. The ballots were counted on Oct. 5, 2017, when more than 75 percent of Covenant residents agreed to a fiber optic network.
Board President Fred Wasserman said there would be a community meeting before things officially start with the project.
“You’ll get plenty of information with this project,” he said. “We will also have a community groundbreaking day.”
Following the board meeting, Association Manager Christy Whalen said board members were thrilled to be stepping forward with Race Communications on this important project.
“We are moving ahead expeditiously to bring 1-gigabit service to our members and are looking forward to a project groundbreaking to be scheduled soon,” Whalen said.