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Sea Ranch

The Sea Ranch California Homeowners' Association contracted with GigabitNow in 2014 to design and build a FTTH network called Sea Ranch Connect. Sea Ranch, a coastal community in Sonoma County, has approximately 1800 homes on 2280 buildable lots. The geography is ten miles long by one mile wide. They were underserved by other suppliers for broadband and most of their speeds were 1 Mbps or less, DSL or dial-up modem.

The Sea Ranch network is a 1 Gbps point to point network with a single fiber run to each home from one of two central offices. One central office node is midway on the 10-mile length and the other node is toward the south side of the development. These two data centers split the customer fiber approximately 50/50 with the southern center having the Internet uplink. The data centers use Calix equipment. They estimated that the point to point network cost about 10% more to implement versus a GPON architecture.

The fiber backbone is run in a right-of-way alongside of the road, in the dirt/grass, where there are no sidewalks. They used a very efficient method of burying conduit by using a vibratory plow. They were able to lay approximately 1,000 to 1,200 feet of conduit per day. The network is about 77 route miles long.

The project cost approximately $6M including the initial 1,000 home drops. This is very cost effective as compared to Rancho Santa Fe, which is a very similar size and architecture. However Sea Ranch was able to use vibratory plow at the side of the road versus paved road trenching, and they used microduct instead of larger conduit. Sea Ranch borrowed money from a bank to finance the construction. A fee of $20/month is charged to all HOA members, whether they connect to the network or not to help pay off the loan.

As part of the build, Sea Ranch consulted with Sonoma County and the Coastal Commission for both environmental and other permits. Sea Ranch hired WRA to handle the environmental study and construction monitoring work.

Sea Ranch is geographically isolated and has expensive Internet uplinks. They initially only acquired a 1 Gbps link to AT&T's Fremont data center. As such, they initially only offered a 50 Mbps connection. They now have 50 and 250 Mbps connections offered to homeowners.

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