Seattle’s City Council Votes Down Municipal Broadband Plan

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night fr...

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night from Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle, WA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frankly I’m austounded that the Seattle city council voted against the plan because they have consistiently behaved as if the government could always do things better than private enterprise. They have been stung once so this time they are being a bit smarter at their approach. The city has discovered the risk of competing with public enterprises and that  broadband services are not necessarilly an utility.

by Karl Bode

Last week we noted that Seattle was once again considering building its own gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber build the neighborhood of North Beacon Hill, then moving forward with a larger, $480 million to $665 million network if the trial deployment showed promise. But the city council this week voted down the idea, striking a blow for a growing number of Seattle residents who — tired of CenturyLink and Comcast service — want to explore the idea of broadband as a utility.

Despite the fact that Seattle has been debating the option for the better part of a decade, local groups like Upgrade Seattle are trying to keep faith.

“I don’t consider it a blow,” Upgrade Seattle organizer Sabrina Roach told GeekWire. “I think more people in Seattle now have awareness that municipal broadband is possible.” Seattle city council member Kshama Sawant, who worked closely with the group, mirrored that optimism.

“If the majority of the City Council was serving working people, as opposed to serving big corporations like Comcast, this pilot project would have passed,” Sawant said. “Once the campaign season ended, the corporate politicians on the Council turned their backs on us. I will continue working with Upgrade Seattle to build a powerful grassroots movement to win municipal broadband.”

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry’s first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

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