Race targets Sonoma County for FTTH project

2 January 2016 by Steve Blum
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If you head west from Santa Rosa on State Route 12, and take the fork at Occidental Road, about halfway to the Pacific Ocean you’ll come to the town of Occidental. Residents there get broadband service from AT&T and Comcast, but if you go a little further west, the lines end. Race Telecommunications wants to build out a fiber to the home system there, and is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for a $9.1 million grant from the California Advanced Services Fund to do it.

According to the Gigafy Occidental project proposal, Race plans…

…to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) Last Mile network to serve 100% of the homes in a defined service area that includes the Joy Road Area of Occidental in Sonoma County. This project will service 757 households in a 4.2 square mile area. Fiber based Internet speeds will offer packages including 1Gbps (1000 Mbps) down and 1Gbps (1000 Mbps) up.

As the publicly available summary of the grant application reads, the entire area is unserved, which would mean that 70% of the project cost would be eligible for a CASF subsidy. That implies a total project cost of $13 million, or $17,000 per home, of which $12,000 would be covered by the grant, if approved.

According to the CPUC’s online broadband availability map, there’s no wireline or fixed wireless service in the area. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon’s mobile service doesn’t hit the 6 Mbps down/1.5 Mbps threshold to consider an area as served, but it could be enough to bump the area to underserved, which would drop the subsidy to 60%. That’s based on estimates derived from general speed tests, and not specific measurements taken in the project area, though.