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City of Seattle

December 13, 12:31 PM click here to comment > 15

City of Seattle, University of Washington, and Gigabit Squared announce plan to develop ultra-fast broadband network

Plan begins with demonstration fiber project in 12 Seattle neighborhoods

SEATTLE (December 13, 2012) – Today Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn announced that the City of Seattle has reached an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared to develop and operate an ultra high-speed fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business broadband network. The plan will begin with a demonstration fiber project in twelve Seattle neighborhoods and includes wireless methods to deploy services more quickly to other areas in the city. The initiative, leveraging the City of Seattle’s excess fiber capacity, the expertise of Gigabit Squared, and the community leadership of The University of Washington, aims to stimulate business opportunities, spur advancements in health care, education, and public safety, and enhance quality of life for the residents and businesses of Seattle.

“This is a very promising proposal that can help bring 21st century infrastructure to Seattle,” said McGinn. “I’ve heard from residents and businesses that Seattle needs better broadband service, and this agreement lays the groundwork for building that network. I’m excited to work with the University of Washington and Gigabit Squared to provide new Internet service choices.”

The City, the University and Gigabit Squared have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a Letter of Intent that allows Gigabit Squared to begin raising the capital needed to conduct engineering work and to build out the demonstration fiber network. The project is the second city project announced by Gigabit Squared as part of its multi-million dollar Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program. Gigabit Squared will collaborate with the City of Seattle and the University of Washington to initiate a process for sharing information and soliciting input on the project from members of the affected communities.

“The UW, the City of Seattle and Gigabit Squared are working together to make Seattle the most wired and connected city in the nation and to continue its role as a major leader in the innovation economy of the 21st century,” said University of Washington President Michael Young. “This new level of high-speed connectivity will provide essential infrastructure to help us address some of our biggest problems in the areas of climate, the environment, education, energy, and transportation. It’s definitely a game-changer, and we are delighted to be one of the driving forces in making this a reality.”

The network, called Gigabit Seattle includes three pieces: Fiber directly to the home and business in twelve demonstration neighborhoods, dedicated gigabit broadband wireless connections to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, and next generation mobile wireless internet.

1. Fiber to the home and business: Gigabit Seattle plans to build out a fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business (FTTH/FTTB) network to more than 50,000 households and businesses in 12 demonstration neighborhoods, connected together with the excess capacity that Gigabit Seattle will lease from the City’s own fiber network. Gigabit Seattle’s technology intends to offer gigabit speeds that are up to 1,000 times faster than the typical high-speed connection.

The initial 12 neighborhoods include: Area 1: the University of Washington’s West Campus District, Area 2: South Lake Union, Area 3: First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central Area, Area 4: the University of Washington’s Metropolitan Tract in downtown Seattle, Area 5: the University of Washington’s Family Housing at Sand Point, Area 6: Northgate, Area 7: Volunteer Park Area, Area 8: Beacon Hill and SODO Light Rail Station and Areas 9-12: Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach.

2. Dedicated gigabit to multifamily housing and offices: To provide initial coverage beyond the 12 demonstration neighborhoods, Gigabit Seattle intends to build a dedicated gigabit broadband wireless umbrella to cover Seattle providing point-to-point radio access up to one gigabit per second. This will be achieved by placing fiber transmitters on top of 38 buildings across Seattle. These transmitters can beam fiber internet to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, even those outside the twelve demonstration neighborhoods, as long as they are in a line of sight. Internet service would be delivered to individual units within a building through existing wiring. This wireless coverage can provide network and Internet services to customers that do not have immediate access to fiber in the city.

3. Next generation mobile wireless internet: Gigabit Seattle will provide next generation wireless cloud services in its 12 neighborhoods to provide customers with mobile access.

The fiber network, the gigabit dedicated wireless connections, and wireless cloud services neighborhoods will together provide broadband wired and wireless network and Internet services, giving Seattle customers new choices.

“Seattle and its spirit of entrepreneurship, community advancement, innovation and invention make it the ideal City for this exciting initiative,” said Mark Ansboury, president of Gigabit Squared. “Bringing the City of Seattle, the University of Washington, individual neighborhoods, as well as Gigabit Squared and our investors together, we’re able to do what none of us could do individually – build a platform for economic development and business creation.”

This is the first demonstration project of Gigabit Squared’s Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program (GNGP), which will bring other projects like this to promote gigabit network innovation in six selected university communities across the country. The $200 million broadband program was developed in partnership with The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project (Gig.U).

“This exciting public-private partnership serves as an example to communities all over the world of how universities and their local stakeholders can collaborate to drive economic opportunities by putting private investment to work alongside public capital,” said Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U. “We’re thrilled to see our Gig.U member, University of Washington, at the center of this innovative initiative to help Seattle communities benefit from the advanced applications and services accelerating the meaningful use of this gigabit speed network. Congratulations to all involved in the Seattle Broadband Initiative in developing this world-class fiber network that will support not only today’s needs, but foster innovation and serve the research and community development needs of tomorrow.”

Posted by: Nathaniel Merrill


Comment from jen
Time December 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Will items 1. Fiber to the home and business, and 2. Next Gen mobile wireless internet, be provided as two separate services to subscribe to?

I refuse to pay for internet on my phone because I already have an ISP associated w/ the cost of rent. I spend a lot of my time on a real computer or in a place w/ free wifi.

Comment from joe
Time December 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Were the areas not directly connected to UW picked based on social-justice criteria, or in an effort to make some of the less savory areas in the city more attractive? Beacon Hill/SODO Light Rail Station, Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach seem like incongruous choices for a high-tech home broadband project given the lower incomes in many of those areas, when there are tons of people in Ballard, Fremont, Green Lake, Phinney, Roosevelt, and Wallingford who would likely be willing to pay more for this higher class of service and are in closer physical proximity to the University to begin with.

Comment from Eric Hutcheson
Time December 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I hope my part of Capitol Hill is included there needs to be other options than just Comcast for high speed internet. CenturyLink and their pathetic DSL does not compete!

Comment from Brian
Time December 13, 2012 at 5:22 pm

the areas follow a natural route between UW to the main internet backbone hub under the Westin downtown, so I assume that is the route of the laid dark fiber. There is a node up by Northgate because of the college and medical facilities there. Then they will launch wireless technology to stream from many dark fiber nodes along this route to the rest of the city.

no shady conspiracies, in fact it’s a good use of existing resources that were largely wasted compared to it’s capabilities. This dark fiber can handle so much more traffic than whats its currently being used for. Having the same speed up and down is going to change how we use the internet in a big way. Hopefully its also going to give that nudge that Google needs to pick us as the next test market for its dark fiber services.

Comment from Kenny
Time December 17, 2012 at 8:40 am

@Joe So the poor people in the south end dont deserve good internet too? Also projects like this nearly always *decrease* the price of internet which will be good for them. Also these neighborhoods along the light rail are being gentrified very rapidly as twentysomethings are pushed out of Cap Hill and seek good access to downtown and lower rents.

Comment from robert free
Time December 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

white privileged yuppies continue to throw tantrums ..”i want all the toys at my door step..because i can afford it and want to pursue my dreams!”..and those poor darkies..well hell with them!..thye cant dream, nor deserve to have access..since their poverty and race wont ever let them in this society ..attain teeter paying jobs or reach their dreams..yah..racist mentality

Comment from robert free
Time December 19, 2012 at 5:59 pm

did someone edit my comments out! and why..i want an explanation..thanks

Comment from robert free
Time December 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm

sorry..i see it now…but come on seattle…that kind of them and us mentality is what america the country it is now…if youre dark…youre out of the pie or just a smaller slice..that will limit you and your family for generations…thanks to the other comments that see that poor and everyone can benefit from this faster broadband… we have been promised faster and better cable/broadband options here on beacon hill since the 90s..about time we are included..

Comment from Philip Heller
Time December 19, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks for introducing more competition into the market place. I am so tired of being taken advantage of by Comcast who the City of Seattle has basically given a monopoly to.

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Comment from Anne
Time January 31, 2013 at 8:15 am

As a white girl high tech worker struggling with my Centurylink DSL because I bought an affordable home in the CD/Leschi, I am super excited to have an faster option and to be able to work more at home. And if you haven’t been to this area lately, you would be surprised at how many people have chosen to purchase homes here over Bellevue and Ballard. It is a multi-cultural affordable Seattle neighborhood close to downtown and transportation.

Comment from Nick
Time February 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Comcast is terrible this would be great if this option was available in the highland park area. I can’t keep absorbing comcast’s price increases year after year and getting less for it. Its about time the city does something about giving us some real options for internet access.

Comment from education usa
Time March 6, 2013 at 1:11 pm

That sounds like fun. Her in Germany in our small town we have very bad broadband connections it is so slow, nice to see that you are doing better.

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