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CPU grants Fiber-to-the- Home Internet to the Occidental Area


CPU grants Fiber-to-the- Home Internet to the Occidental Area


California Public Utilities Commission Approves Grant for Fiber-to-the- Home Internet to the Occidental Area

The rural community of Occidental in western Sonoma County is set to receive reliable, affordable, fiber-to-the-home high-speed broadband Internet.

On Thursday August 18th the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a grant for construction of the Race Communications Gigafy Occidental Project for fiber-to-the-home, high-speed broadband Internet to the unserved area west of the town of Occidental. The grant is funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), and administered and managed by the CPUC.

The project covers approximately 5 square miles of hilly terrain with very tall redwood forests and highly dispersed homes, vineyards and small farms. The complex terrain makes it unfeasible to bring broadband Internet to the community using anything other than a fiber solution.

The approval of the project represents the result of a determined effort by members of the community to bring broadband access to the approximately 500 households located in this rural area. Community members organized public meetings with the CPUC, coordinated letters of support from local businesses, public safety officials and local schools, and wrote personal letters of support detailing their business, health, education and other needs for reliable Internet. The community also worked with the CPUC to run speed tests, map and document the unserved area, and surveyed residents to verify that the vast majority of households would subscribe to the service if available. This information assisted Race Communications and the CPUC to justify the need and business case for the project. 

Access Sonoma Broadband (ASB) and the North Bay/North Coast Broadband Consortium actively supported the community and helped stimulate its grass roots efforts. It also took on the role of working with supervisors, legislators and government officials to gain their support. Michael Nicholls, Co-Chair of ASB commented, “Our experience in Occidental with community organizing and government outreach has given us a framework for replicating this success in other North Bay Area communities.” 

Race Communications is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a successful track record of delivering fiber solutions to rural communities that are both affordable and sustainable. “Access to high-speed broadband continues to be one of the most challenging issues facing rural areas in California.” Said Race CEO, Raul Alcaraz. “As a native of the Bay Area, I care deeply about our local communities. Our team is proud to work with the CPUC, ASB and local community organizers to deliver fiber-based solutions that are good for the community and sustainable as a long-term business.”


Steven Sharpe, Analyst
Access Sonoma Broadband
Sonoma County Economic Development Board
141 Stony Circle Suite 110
Santa Rosa, CA 95401-4154





About Race Communications

In today's connected world, reliable, high-speed internet is an absolute necessity, and it is the company's mission to provide advanced communications at an affordable price. Launched in 1995, Race is a leading provider of fiber Internet service throughout California, including a growing number of remote, rural communities that broadband carriers have long ignored.

About Access Sonoma Broadband

Access Sonoma Broadband works with residents, businesses and governmental agencies to close the rural-urban digital divide. It is supported by Sonoma County Economic Development Board’s economic development strategy and legislative state and federal legislative platforms.