Earlier this year, the Rancho Santa Fe Association took the first steps in moving toward a more connected future. In April, the Association approved a study to investigate the installation of a fiber-optic network that would allow for quicker, more reliable cell service and internet access.
The biggest questions surrounding the proposal are what is a fiber-optic network exactly and how will it benefit Rancho Santa Fe? Let’s explore both.
Understanding Fiber Optic Networks
In use for decades across the country, fiber optic networks are the fastest form of broadband technology and serve as a way to carry signals across long distances quickly and efficiently. Via strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing, fiber optic cables are run underground and allow for faster connection to the internet. Typical cable systems use shared networks that can slow down individual users based on other homes’ usage.
Over 113,000 miles of fiber optic cables are already installed in the U.S. and that number is growing with the expansion into communities like Rancho Santa Fe. fiber optic powers much of the country’s internet and soon will be the mainstream way to access the web.
Benefits of a Fiber Optic Network
Dubbed RSF Connect, the motion to enact the 1 GB internet project would have a significant impact on residents. With higher connection speeds, businesses would operate more efficiently, residents could work from home offices and students would be able to complete online assignments with ease. In addition, the fiber-optic network would benefit entertainment options, enabling the operation of smart homes and increasing TV and music streaming speeds. These improvements would undoubtedly raise property values and improve residents’ overall quality of life.
The Next Steps
In the first week of October, voting closed on the RSF Connect project, meaning the fate of the network is in the hands of those who came out to vote. If approved, the fiber optic network would include a 65 to the 70-mile underground web of cables and homeowners would be responsible for connecting the fiber to their house, which would involve installing a new conduit from the service point box to the home.
The cost to residents would be $6.25 per linear foot from the service point to the home, which will be strategically placed to maximize access and minimize cost. An estimated $8 million project in total, the cost is the largest obstacle in fiber optic adoption. If passed, the network will take 18-24 months to build and service will become available as segments are completed.
Overall, the installation of a fiber-optic network is considered a step in the right direction for the community, boosting property values and making Rancho Santa Fe an even more desirable community for current and prospective residents. The results of the vote are yet to be announced, but many are pulling for approval.