Seattle Mayor Halts Gigabit Expansion

What was originally slated to be a city-wide gigabit network has now been stopped by newly elected Mayor Ed Murray.

by / January 9, 2014
Newly-elected Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced on Jan. 9 that the Gigabit Squared project will not continue beyond the initial 14-neighborhood pilot. Flickr/Matt Westervelt

Seattle residents excited about receiving gigabit speed Internet through a Gigabit Squared public-private project that was originally scheduled to begin rolling out this year may have to wait longer than expected.

Former Mayor Mike McGinn pushed the project forward, emphasizing the importance of widespread high-speed Internet access, but newly-elected Mayor Ed Murray announced on Jan. 9 that the project will not continue.

In December, a report showed the company was struggling with funding, despite efforts by some city IT officials to attract donations and create partnerships with local organizations, such as the University of Washington. At that time, Gigabit Squared offered only a non-committal response in saying that they “look forward to a dialogue regarding project possibilities with Mayor-elect Murray and his staff.”

Gigabit Squared competitor Comcast contributed to Murray’s campaign and also contributed to several other organizations that supported Murray. Comcast denies that its contributions have in any way influenced the Mayor’s decision, but many critics suggest otherwise.

The Gigabit Squared project was originally planned to be a citywide rollout, offering 100 Mbps speeds for $45 a month or gigabit speeds for $80 a month, plus a one-time $350 installation charge. Comcast’s infrastructure cannot offer anywhere near gigabit speeds in the city.

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