In 2018, as part of our downtown Santa Cruz fiber build, we completed construction to the El Rio Mobile Home Park in downtown Santa Cruz. Originally, El Rio was not on our build map, until a diligent resident heard of our project, rallied support in her community, and convinced us that we had to put them on the map. She was absolutely right! This was among our favorite projects.
The Best-Connected Mobile Home Park in the Country – and the Woman Who Made it Happen
“Our Trailer park is right past the edge of your map,” she told us. “Can you extend the build over to us?”
El Rio Mobile Home Park, nestled by the San Lorenzo River in Santa Cruz, has a lot of stories to tell. And now it has one more: the fastest internet of any mobile home park in the country. Working with Cruzio Internet, residents of this cool park can now get scorching Gigabit internet for only $50 per month. It’s one of the first Santa Cruz Fiber neighborhoods.
El Rio was founded as a fishing resort in the early 20th century, when salmon ran abundantly in the river. Newspaper clippings, nearly a century old, are in frames on the walls of its community center. There’s a proud history here.
Walking through the park, cars drive by only occasionally and the posted speeds are slow… and slower. As you walk in front of the single- and double-wides, park residents nod “hello” in a friendly way, especially if you’re wearing a Cruzio hat. They’re ecstatic about the new fiber internet. They know they’re special. But it wasn’t just luck — they asked for, and worked for, a better internet choice.
It took many months to get from planning to building to lighting the new Gigabit Fiber Internet, but the first customer watched her speed jump by a factor of 100 on the very first day. That person is also largely responsible for the park getting the network. Her name is Hilary Hamm, and she’s a Fiber Champion.
Cruzio Called for Champions
Early in our planning, we put out a call for neighborhood “champions” — people who wanted to get fiber to their street and were willing to talk to neighbors about it.
We were working on a big project: building fiber to every home and business in the City of Santa Cruz as a start and moving on from there. (Ultimately, Cruzio would like to cover the whole county with high-speed fiber and fiber-backed internet — that’s always been the goal.) That ambitious plan was slowed down as we decided to start with a single neighborhood pilot project.
Our first all-fiber neighborhood is the area around our data center and coworking facility. That’s a diverse, well-populated area in downtown Santa Cruz and a pretty ambitious project — we received no grants and no government funding. We met regularly with our Champions, presenting them with our maps and plans as we created them. And one champion had a comment.
Hilary Understood What Fiber Could Mean For Her Community
“Our trailer park is right past the edge of your map,” she told us. “Can you extend the build to cover us?”
We’ll certainly consider it, we said. But she’d need to get it approved, since the park is privately owned and managed by its residents.
Hilary and our team explained the possibilities to the park’s Board of Directors (she’s on the Board herself), and they approved. Because the neighborhood was so close to our build, and because her neighbors were enthusiastic — many of them already Cruzio customers — we did as she suggested. We increased our project just enough to cover the whole park.
What did we offer? Hilary let her neighbors know about Cruzio’s deal, which is what every other customer in the fiber neighborhood gets:
- Cruzio built fiber to every home in the mobile home park
- No charge for construction, no setup fees for customers
- Gigabit-per-second speeds for only $49.95/mo
- No obligation. No charges at all unless our service is purchased
- No contracts. No data caps. No throttling
- Net Neutral, open internet
- Unlike major carriers, we don’t collect and sell customers’ private information
Now we’re seeing those scorching speeds inside the mobile homes. Residents are going to be able to do everything a high-powered tech worker can do at a desk in downtown San Francisco or LA. But they can do it sitting in their home.
That’s So Santa Cruz
It’s a pretty Santa Cruz-y thing to light up a neighborhood of regular folks first, before getting to the larger businesses. We believe the internet’s for everybody and we’re proud to make it happen for this friendly community.
We believe El Rio is now the best-connected trailer park in the country!
Thanks Hilary! You’re a true Champion.
If you think your neighborhood needs better internet and would like to talk to us about being a Fiber Champion, please get in touch! We’re waiting to hear from you.