Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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High speed internet services slated for Williams

A California telecommunications company has received a grant from the California Advanced Services Fund to provide high-speed internet services in Williams.

Jim Miller, of Race Communications, announced at the April 21 Williams City Council that the grant would allow the San Francisco-based company to install fiber infrastructure to enable high-speed internet in some Williams neighborhoods.

“We are excited about what is about to happen here in Williams,” Miller said.

Race Communications received the grant in December and has already started the permitting process for the installation of the infrastructure.

Miller said he wished there was a way to build a new system overnight, but it may take several years for the project to be completed from start to finish.

Race received $7.6 million to provide internet services first to various pockets of town, but mostly to the west side of Williams, where the population is largely underserved.

The project is expected to provide high-speed internet service at speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps to 588 customers in Williams, although the company plans further expansion over time that may include the entire city and the outskirts of town.

The state made the funding available based on the number of people that have no high-speed internet services available and are low-to-moderate income earners.

Race plans to complete the project within 12 months and hopes to have some customers online by Fall 2021.

“You can’t just turn everyone on with one flip of the switch,” Miller said. “We can’t wait for the entire project to be completed before we turn everybody on.”

Race plans to procure space on current utility poles for steel cables to be attached before lashing fiber optic onto them, Miller said.

Once completed, internet services will be available to customers in the coverage area for as low as $25 per month with a two-year commitment (basic), or $60 for the 1,000 Gig Internet package, which is phenomenally fast, Miller said.

The grant provides about 60 percent of the project costs, which may require some city or county partnerships to make high-speed internet available to all Williams residents.

Race, which has been around since 1994, has received a total of 11 grants to complete such fiber projects in areas where no internet service is available.

“The sooner we can get services to the entire city, the better,” said Councilman Santos Jauregui.

Even if it takes several years to complete, Williams officials said they are thrilled the project is moving forward.

“I feel confident that our team with their team can work together to make this happen,” said City Manager Frank Kennedy.

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