RSF Association to select fiber optic network contractor this month

The Rancho Santa Fe Association’s RSF Connect fiber optic network is getting closer to a construction start date.

At the July 5 board meeting, Assistant Manager Arnold Keene said the Association is on “the home stretch” with the county on the permitting process and they are currently reviewing the bids for two potential contractors to build the 60-mile fiber optic network.

With RSF Connect, the Association will contract with internet service provider Race Communications to provide a 1-gigabit per second service for all Covenant members through the network, bringing fast and reliable internet connectivity to many homeowners and businesses that have experienced poor to non-existent service for years.

According to Keene, the Association held all-day interviews with two construction firms on June 20, attended by members of the technology committee as well as representatives from Race Communications. Keene said he expects the Association will make a selection on the contractor this month and be able to begin on the 18-month long construction process.

Keene said another big task for the Association is working with the approximately 400 members who live on private roads—in order to access the fiber network, property owners have to sign a license agreement to allow construction crews to work on those private roads.

Of the 400 property owners, they have received over 200 agreements, Keene said, noting the Association has also held informational meetings for property owners with questions on those agreements.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with comments we’re receiving from the people on private roads,” Keene said. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm and gratitude for the effort and the project itself.”

While the Association will fund the approximately $14 million cost of the fiber network, homeowners will be responsible for the cost of bringing the fiber to their homes.Homeowners will have options in regard to how the conduit is installed and connected from curb to home.

The Association expects to fund the project with $8 million from the Fiber Optic Fund (formerly the Covenant Enhancement Fund) and bank financing for the remainder with a 10-year fixed-rate, fully amortizing loan. Covenant residents contribute annually to the Fiber Optic Fund through their assessments—2.4 cents of the $14 per $100 in assessed property values goes into the Fiber Optic Fund; the rest of the assessment goes into the general fund.

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