As a part of their preparation to build what is now a planned $6 billion Fort Worth community, Tony Ruggeri and Jake Wagner went on tour.

The co-CEOs of Republic Property Group hit something like 33 communities in eight states, chatting with developers and, in the process, shaping their own master plan for the community that will be called Walsh. It was in a development called Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida, where the tech vision fell into place.

There, Ruggeri said, a decision by developers to put in ultra-fast fiber internet had served as an economic catalyst, spurring a medical district and a partnership with Cisco.

“All this energy was created in part by this really amazing infrastructure,” Ruggeri told the Dallas Business Journal.

Now, Ruggeri is positioning his new development in the same way – but with baseline speeds that are not only faster than Lake Nona, RPG says, but faster than any other development in the country.

For a price already included in HOA fees, every home, school, and business will come equipped with two gigabit internet speeds. With an upgrade, residents will be able to receive speeds up to 10 gigabits.

“We want you to feel comfortable that as long as you live in Walsh there are no limits as to what you can do online,” Ruggeri said.
Aledo ISD’s new elementary school, currently under construction, will be among the first beneficiaries. Ruggeri said that RPG wants to attract like-minded businesses of various sizes – including little garage startups.

Whereas the tech companies of the past that started in garages were generally hardware based and therefore didn’t need top-of-the-line internet, the software startups of tomorrow are reliant on high-speed connections.

“We’re trying to build the garages worthy of the next generation of entrepreneurs,” Ruggeri said.

The company has partnered with the Florida-based internet company Frog, who also worked on Lake Nona, on the project. Utility trench work is underway at the 7,200-acre property. The first homes in the community will open their doors next spring.

Ruggeri said he feels RPG is at an advantage to build the needed infrastructure for these speeds because it’s a new development.

“We don’t have as much of the cost of infrastructure you would have if you’re going to an existing neighborhood and retrenching, tearing up lawns and digging into the street,” he said.

Dallas Business Journal, by Shawn Shinneman | Thursday, Nov 17, 2016