Association continues outreach on Rancho Santa Fe Connect project

The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s Technology Committee continues to make progress toward a community-wide vote on its high-speed fiber-optic internet project known as RSF Connect. With RSF Connect, the Association plans to own, construct and maintain its own fiber-optic network, giving local control over the quality and cost-effectiveness of the infrastructure and service.

At the June 13 special board meeting, Tech Committee Co-chair Rick Sapp said the committee is completing interviewing finalists for RSF Connect’s internet service provider and working with the county on the proposed network design. As the cost estimates of the fiber network are being refined, the committee has also stepped up its community outreach through brochures and a website, Here are some frequently asked questions about the project, answered by the Tech Committee.

How is this proposal different from past approaches?

The RSF Association board has invested time to implement this project the right way, ensuring that all aspects of the project meet the standards of cost effectiveness and excellent service that Covenant members demand. RSF Connect will provide members with some of the fastest, most reliable internet service in the country. Customers will be able to access 1 gigabit per second at home -- more than 125 times faster than the average home internet speed in California. The proposal is structured to allow the Association to respond locally and quickly to user needs, provide significant oversight by the board and staff and maintain low costs for all users.

Why is the Association building its own high-speed internet?

Rancho Santa Fe population density is considered too low for most internet service providers to consider the project at this time. Our homes are too far apart for a provider to be able to be economically build a network. By constructing it ourselves we ensure it is done right with proper local accountability and control, using contractors who care about quality as much as we do.

What does it mean to have high-speed internet?

High-speed internet makes it easier for Covenant members to live and work in an increasingly connected world. RSF Connect will offer Covenant members one gigabit per second internet access which will allow users to:

Stream TV shows and movies from Netflix and YouTube on multiple devices at the same time

Skype or video chat with family members with high resolution and no interruptions

Access corporate networks and make working from home more efficient

Connect reliably to education sites to complete homework and take courses online

Download software packages and games in seconds rather than hours

Seamlessly integrate home security

Improve in-home communications, including video conferencing and cell service

What will this cost me?

The Technology Committee is analyzing cost projections for RSF Connect and will announce those as soon as they are finalized. The strategy is to provide very high-speed internet service that will be priced competitively with current market rates.

How will the Association connect my house to the internet?

RSF Connect will run fiber-optic lines under the street and the internet service provider (ISP) is responsible for running a connection to individual homes. Association residents may work with the ISP or their own contractor to find the best route to run cable from the street to the home. Members may customize how the fiber runs through their property.

May I keep my current internet service if I want to?

Yes, if you are happy with your current internet service, you may continue using it. While some Covenant members have adequate service, this network far surpasses the capabilities of current and planned internet service from other providers.

Why should I care about RSF Connect if I do not plan on hooking up to it?

Gigabit internet availability will increase the value of your home whether you use it or not. Local realtors say a fiber network will account for a significant increase in our home property values across the board. Some realtors state values will increase up to 15 to 20 percent. Should you or your children wish to sell your home, having access to RSF Connect will make your property more desirable and lessen the time your home remains on the market,

Technology is changing so fast, so how do we know that the network won’t become obsolete?

Fiber-optic networks are considered to be “future proof” within the telecommunications industry. Once the fiber cables are laid, the infrastructure can remain in place for up to 50 years without needing to make significant upgrades. The fiber in RSF Connect will put the Ranch in a position to take advantage of improved technology for the foreseeable future.

When will the community vote on RSF Connect?

The board is in the process of finalizing the details and process. Once we have all of the necessary information in, voting will take place as soon as possible and prior to committing the necessary funds to the project. Our board values transparency and accountability. RSF Connect is an important investment for us and we want to give our members a final opportunity to voice their opinions with full knowledge of the cost and budget parameters.

How do I know that the funds will be spent properly?

The board and Technology Committee will continue to publish its regular communications on this project to its members on an ongoing basis. RSF Connect was developed with local control and accountability in mind.