Tired of waiting, rich enclave may build fast Internet
A flirtation with socialism in uber-capitalist Rancho Santa Fe could influence how telecommunications service is delivered to the rest of us in San Diego County.
On Thursday, the elected board that oversees land use in the wealthy rural enclave took a step toward building a super-fast, fiber-optic communications system that would reach each home and business. Here’s the twist: The system would be financed and owned by the public, with a telecom firm building and managing the network as a hired hand.
Internet speeds would start at 1 gigabits (1 billion bits) per second and top out at 10 gbps, or roughly 850 times the average U.S. connection of 11.7 megabits per second.
At the standard 1 gbps in the Ranch — costing residents a projected $130 a month — it’s enough horsepower to support seamless Internet on multiple devices, plus phone calls, home security and video conferences, as well as stream TV shows in 4K ultra-high-definition quality that movie theaters use.
As a tightwad who gets by nicely on $60 a month for 50 mbps from Cox Communications, my first impulse is to wonder what all the fuss is about.
But this story isn’t just about one of the nation’s wealthiest communities writing checks for better service. If the Ranch can pull this off, we’d also suddenly have a shining example of effective government infrastructure policy — plus a new source of competition for the cable industry in San Diego County.