The Rancho Santa Fe Post

Op-ed: Overcoming Barriers to the Advancement of Cell Phone Coverage and Internet

It is no secret that our community has lagged behind the technology curve, largely due to our low-density and the high value we place, collectively, in conserving the “Ranch” aesthetics that we all love.

The low-density has made it difficult to find reliable Internet and cell phone service providers to upgrade our systems, because the return on their investment in the Ranch is much lower than it would be in higher-density developments.

Most service providers who have expressed an interest in upgrading our technology have asked for millions of our dollars to build their businesses.

This has led the Technology Committee, led by its Chair Philip Wilkinson, Kim Eggleston, and Mike Licosati to ask a more fundamental question: If we are going to invest significant resources into something, what is the best way to make sure we have a stake in the ownership interests?

After countless hours of due diligence and soliciting numerous proposals, we have narrowed our focus to cell phone tower and Internet service partners who have offered proposals that maximize our ability to: (1) control the quality of services; (2) the development of the infrastructure; and importantly, (3) reasonable shares of revenue to appropriately compensate the Association for its investments.

As most folks in this community understand, these kinds of sophisticated business discussions include delicate proprietary, legal, regulatory, and financial considerations. And luckily for us, we have long-time experts in the industry including Charlie Christ and Rob Strickland who have donated their time to serve as community advisors throughout the process. We are also being advised by one of the most respected independent Broadband consulting firms in the country, Magellan Advisors.

Over the next few months, we plan on finalizing business negotiations for the development of cell phone towers and a fiber-optic infrastructure. And prior to the execution of definitive agreements, we will meet with individual homeowners who feel that they could be adversely affected by our effort to get ahead of the technology curve.

On a community-wide level, there is no doubt that these projects will have a significant positive effect on the value of our homes.

And as a Board, we are excited to be breaking the barriers between the Ranch and technological progress.