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RSFA approves fiber broadband funding

RANCHO SANTA FE — The board of directors at the Rancho Santa Fe Association recently approved funding for technical and legal consulting along with fiber community education for its partnership with Hotwire Communications since it signed its Letter of Intent. Separate action items, the board approved $120,000 for technical and legal consulting and $250,000 for fiber community education.

Assisting in this proposed fiber-to-the-home project are Magellan Advisors performing technical consulting and Peace & Shea LLP helping with the legalities, respectively.

Technology committee member and RSFA board member, Philip Wilkinson, hoped that the board would approve the continuation of this effort. And they did so on both counts unanimously.

Wilkinson explained that the technical consulting and legal costs were payments for the months of May, June and July. Each entity would receive $20,000 per month. Combined, the total costs for three months were $120,000.

“We expect in another sixty days, we’ll have the definitive agreement completely negotiated and ready for signature,” Wilkinson said, noting how anything beyond the month of July would be part of the $13.5 (million) project investment.

The estimated construction cost for the technology has been estimated to run $13.5 million; and, the RSFA intends to absorb these costs with the agreement that it will own the network after a final regulatory review.

Board member and also technology committee member, Mike Licosati, highlighted the legal framework of what was needed which included the EPC (engineering and procurement contract), SLA (service level agreement), the maintenance agreement, organizational structure, and the financing.

Wilkinson described the consulting portion as babysitting the entire project and negotiating with Hotwire in making sure the RSFA remains protected.

According to Wilkinson, fiber education would go toward website development, video introduction, advertising, community education, a demonstration room, staffing, travel, and marketing materials.

“We’re not sure where the demonstration center will be yet, but we’re advocating a couple locations here and around town,” he said.

Wilkinson also pointed out that the outreach process is expected to last about four months.

And invoices must be approved before any monies are allocated from the $250,000 reserves, he said.

“And we can slow or stop it, if we aren’t seeing the type of uptake that we expect,” he said.

The Association is required to have 1,200 homes and businesses to be signed up for this service so it meets its threshold launch. Wilkinson believes that due to the momentum of interest they may reach this halfway mark in the next 45 to 60 days.

So there are a lot of wheels in motion here. And we absolutely need to continue this to get the uptake. Many, many people are knocking on our doors and are very excited about the possibility of getting 1GB let alone 10 GB, which we will absolutely unequivocally need in the future,” Wilkinson said.