When it comes to the Internet, every millisecond counts. Ask anyone in Gold Mountain — the development between Portola and Clio, with 400-plus home sites.
There are also views, a championship golf course, fitness center, hotel with broadband service to all rooms, and a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired-club house. However, access to high-speed Internet has evaded property owners in the development.
Gold Mountain residents have relied on satellite or terrestrial transmissions from out-of-the-area service providers, or a Wi-Fi signal from mobile-phone service providers. Each of these technologies has its limitations and restrictions, and makes running a home-based business or telecommuting a nightmare.
With more and more data-hungry smart phones and tablets creating digital traffic jams, residents needed a solution.
Barring challenges with the weather, Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications (PST) project managers hope to solve this problem by early spring 2018.
The Gold Mountain Home Owners Association (HOA) began talking with PST about bringing high speed internet to the development in 2015.
“Bob Marshall [PST General Manager] was very helpful with financing and pricing information, and was eager to help,” says Jim Lafferty, president of the association.
The good news for Gold Mountain residents is that developers laid the foundation for future services when they initially planned the gated community in 2002 by installing underground conduit throughout the project. The challenge was whether that conduit initially installed for cable TV, could be cleaned out and carry fiber optic cable.
Prior to commencing work on the broadband project, property owners had to appoint a project manager from the HOA, research project requirements, locate existing conduit and raise funds — which required a special assessment requiring a vote of the members.
Once the HOA cleaned the conduit, they began installing ground vaults and pull-rope in key junction areas, based on PST’s network design. The association mapped the entire network system to ensure accurate records for the future while doing the groundwork.
PST began construction Sept. 11 on Red Fox Road in Gold Mountain, before all of the ground vaults were in. Since then, PST has been placing cable, installing electronics and dialing in the microwave link from Delleker that will feed the system.
PST will pull roughly 90,000 feet — about 13 miles — of fiber-optic cable throughout the Gold Mountain community in the coming weeks and months.
Lafferty said he and others are concerned that foul weather could impede progress. “Everybody’s mind is in the right place: to complete the project. We are hoping PST can get fiber optic cable to all the houses as fast as possible, but know that hookups to homes will take more finesse than installing the main cable. I want to be ready to go, so my project for today is to build a platform for the ONT [Optical Network Terminal] in my house.
“Having broadband will be a sensational improvement. This area has very poor Internet service. Delivery rates are so slow that we lose connections all the time. Patricia Ryan and her husband [other Gold Mountain residents] telecommute. I don’t know how they do it.
“Getting this done, [improving Internet access] is one of the key things needed here to put plugs in the dyke. If you can telecommute to the Bay Area — that will make a big difference,” said Lafferty.