Seattle and the University of Washington on Thursday, Dec. 13, announced their partnership with broadband provider Gigabit Squared to develop an ultra high-speed broadband network in Seattle neighborhoods.

The fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business network will leverage Seattle’s unused fiber, also known as dark fiber. The beginning phase will include a demonstration in 12 Seattle neighborhoods, which were chosen based on multiple factors, such as proximity to both existing dark fiber and University of Washington campuses and housing.

 “This is a very promising proposal that can help bring 21st century infrastructure to Seattle,” said Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn in a press release.

According to a city report, no additional city dollars will be spent on the broadband project. Gigabit Squared will pay to lay fiber — more than 200 miles that will reach more than 50,000 households and businesses — and will rent the unused fiber from the city, creating a revenue stream for Seattle.

Service plans will start at 20 megabits per second up to 1 Gigabit per second.

The company also plans to provide dedicated, gigabit-speed radio connections to speed deployment to housing and businesses where fiber isn’t readily available, as well as high-speed wireless Internet access to subscribers in the 12 demonstration neighborhoods.

Once 15 percent of residents in the 12 demonstration neighborhoods sign up for broadband service, Gigabit Squared will deploy a phased rollout of the fiber services to the rest of the city.

Gigabit Squared plans to make the service available to 100,000 residents by the end of 2014, and intends for the network to remain in place for at least 10 years.

“We are lighting up our dark fiber that was deployed decades ago to bring more choices to our residents and businesses,” said Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the Seattle mayor’s office. “This will help Seattle compete in the global economy now and in the future.”


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Sarah Rich, Staff Writer Sarah Rich  | 

In 2008, Sarah Rich graduated from California State University, Chico, where she majored in news-editorial journalism and minored in sociology. She wrote for for Government Technology magazine from 2010 through 2013.