The Mojave Air and Space Port and its tenants now have access to high-speed, fiber-optic Internet and phone services, which officials see as a big draw for companies to locate to the desert test facility.
Race Communications completed hooking up the spaceport to its Los Angeles data center last month, CEO Raul Alcaraz told the facility’s Board of Directors on Tuesday. The airport’s administration building and four companies already have service, and other tenants can now sign up as well, he added.
The company’s Mach 25 Internet package provides up to 15 megabytes upstream and up to 25 megabytes downstream at prices starting at $60 per month. The Mach 100 package provides up to 25 megabytes upstream and up to 100 megabytes downstream beginning at $200 per month.
Race, which has teamed up with local provider High Desert Wireless to connect the airport, also offers three types of business voice packages at different rates and payment options. Additional details are available at www.race.com.
Spaceport General Manager Stu Witt said that the new service will be a major draw for high-end companies to locate to Mojave, which has become a hub for building and testing new aircraft and spacecraft. Current tenants such as Virgin Galactic and Stratolaunch Systems are very date driven, he noted.
The completion of the connection work caps a three-year effort to extend service north from Los Angeles through the Mojave Desert. Race plans to make the spaceport a hub for providing services to the towns of Mojave, Boron, California City and Tehachapi.
The work has been assisted by a grant from the California Advanced Services fund, which supports the expansion of Internet communications to under served areas. Alcaraz said that Race and High Desert Wireless would be applying for another grant in February to extend service beyond the spaceport. It would take about 18 months to fully provide services to the town of Mojave, he added.
Alcaraz said it has been a pleasure to work with officials at the spaceport. Witt returned the compliment, praising Race for being a quality contractor that does what it promises to do when it promises to do it.
The service is currently available on the developed, south side of the airport. Last month, the Board of Directors approved a $1.3 million plan to extend water, power and Internet services to the north side, which includes the Mojave boneyard and rocket test sites for Scaled Composites, XCOR Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Virgin Galactic, Firestar Engineering, Whittinghill Aerospace and Interorbital Systems.
The expansion of services to the north side will initially serve four tenants and is expected to add approximately 50 new jobs. It will allow tenants to built up the area with more buildings and facilities. The services also will increase the value of the land, allowing the spaceport to charge higher rents in the future, Witt said.
The spaceport will not be able to recover hookup fees from the four tenants that will get the initial service, Witt said. Those tenants are already assisting with the connections, he added. However, the airport will be able to charge such fees for future connections.