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Seattle Considering Municipal Broadband

After a botched partnership with startup Gigabit Squared, the city of Seattle is keeping its options open for future broadband efforts.

by / July 17, 2014
Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller Google+

Seattle may take another shot at municipal broadband.

Since the recent failed partnership between the city and Gigabit Squared, the future of broadband in Seattle has been up in the air -- but recently-appointed Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller said the city is looking at all options, including a municipally-run network.

“At this point we have to consider all options,” Michael Mattmiller told the Seattle Times. “We have to look at, No. 1, how are we reducing barriers to competition, knowing that the marketplace is hungry for more broadband?”

Mattmiller also noted that the city should consider public-private partnerships and “leverage our assets to go out and deliver commercial Internet,” which presumably means finding a way to connect residents using the city’s miles of dark fiber.

The city’s failure to account for its dark fiber was one of the reasons the deal with Gigabit Squared fell through. Some observers, like Robert Kangas, leader of Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors (UPTUN), a Seattle broadband consumer advocacy group, have suggested that the city fund an engineering study and make the details of the city’s fiber assets publicly available as a way to encourage investment.

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