Improving broadband internet access in Seattle
Internet access is the infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century and access to the information and services it provides are responsible for economic growth, job creation, education, and a better quality of life. The City of Seattle is exploring all options that would increase the availability of competitive, affordable, and equal broadband internet access options that approach one gigabit of bandwidth across the city.
In June 2014 Mayor Murray announced three strategies to ensure Seattle residents have access to equal, affordable, and competitive broadband internet services. Since this announcement, more than 60% of the City's single family households have gained access to gigabit speed broadband internet service.
Reduce regulatory barriers
Cities are competing with one another to attract high-speed broadband opportunities. To make Seattle more welcoming to these opportunities, we are taking steps to increase access to city infrastructure and simplify our permitting processes.
Results: By streamlining permitting processes and aligning rules governing communications equipment, Seattle's Internet Service Providers are investing in upgrades throughout the city. CenturyLink named Seattle one of its gigabit cities and is building out fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) internet service. Wave Broadband is also building out FTTP in addition to its CondoInternet gigabit broadband service available in many apartment and condo buildings.
Seek public/private partnerships
Seattle continues to engage experienced commercial Internet Service Providers, exploring opportunities for improved Internet access in the city. These providers can lease unused fiber optic cable owned by the City of Seattle, known as "dark fiber", to help expand their service.
Results: Cascade Networks is currently leasing portions of the City's dark fiber to provide internet access in the International District. The City continues to meet with interested Internet Service Providers who could benefit from leasing the City's fiber.
Examine municipal broadband
As the City is taking steps to encourage providers to deliver gigabit broadband services throughout Seattle, it's important to understand the feasibility of providing a City-operated fiber-to-the-premise municipal broadband solution that could bring high-speed access to all Seattle households.
Results: The City's June 2015 Municipal Broadband Feasibility Study found the City could not finance the build out of a City-owned and operated municipal broadband utility funded only by rate-payer revenue at this time. The City is looking into other options for funding, joint ventures and best practices to bring equal broadband access across the city.
Since the announcement of Mayor Murray's broadband policy, more than 150,000 households have gained access to gigabit broadband Internet services. Today more than 60% of Seattle households have access to at least one gigabit broadband Internet Service Provider. To determine if gigabit broadband Internet is available at your residence, visit CenturyLink or Wave Broadband.