Westlake Village connecting with the future

TECHNOLOGY REPORT


 

 

Westlake Village is serving the city of tomorrow, one byte at a time.

Officials are working on a plan with developer American Dark Fiber and internet provider Race Communications to install a municipal fiber-optic cable-network that will deliver super-high-speed internet in the city’s First Neighborhood.

The homes will be the first in the city to receive the new service, and officials say more neighborhoods could follow.

“The level of service . . . is so far in advance to anything that’s available out there today that it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison,” American Dark Fiber chief executive David Daigle said. “The slowest internet speed they’ll deliver is 3.3 times faster than the highest speed any of the nearest competitors can pro- vide. It’s dedicated capacity. It’s not shared, the way cable systems are.”

The Los Angeles-based fiber-optic developer will install the First Neighborhood lines at no charge to the city. Daigle couldn’t disclose the exact cost of the project but said it was a multi-million-dollar expense. American Dark Fiber said it will recoup its construction expenses through sign-up fees.

Race Communications out of Burlingame, Calif., is an independent internet service provider that will use the cable installed by American Dark Fiber to provide customers with the new high-quality internet service.

Race chief executive Raul Alcaraz said his company hasn’t settled on a price for customers but that it will be competitive with other providers in the area while offering faster service than is available over the copper cables now in place.

AT&T and Spectrum, the two major providers to the area, package internet with cable and phone. Ally Harris, the sales and marketing manager of Race Communications, said the company will offer similar packaged deals.

Westlake Village City Councilmember Kelly Honig, who serves on the city’s technology committee, said she’s in favor of the plan and hopes to see the rest of the city get a similar upgrade as soon as possible. She said the plan has been in the works for more than seven years and is now close to being finalized.

“This is the culmination of many years of work. We’re very, very close to breaking ground,” Honig said. “American Dark Fiber still needs to obtain their encroachment permits and do some citywide outreach together with the city to let our residents know what’s happening and what they can expect to happen in the near future, specifically in regard to First Neighborhood.”

The city’s plan is to have fiber-optic cable installed in First Neighborhood before expanding to other neighborhoods and, eventually, the whole city.

The fiber-optic cables laid throughout the 661-home neighborhood will be connected to a data center in Agoura Hills. Other neighborhoods were considered, including Three Springs and The Trails, but Daigle said his company determined that First Neighborhood’s proximity to Agoura Hills and the promise of lower construction costs made it the ideal launching point for the upgrade.

Harris said Race Communications will inform First Neighborhood residents about the benefits of switching to their service and other options they may have.

“We involve ourselves in the community through farmers markets, a lot of face-to-face time, town halls, community events that are hosted by homeowners associations or by us,” Harris said. “Since we’re focusing on one neighborhood, we’ll be working closely with the HOA to market through any mediums they have, whether it’s newsletters, etc. The biggest thing for us is the face-to-face events and community engagement through partnerships.”