San Francisco & Seattle Consider Investment in Municipal Gigabit, Telecompetitor Covers

Telecompetitor - October 20, 2017

Municipal Gigabit 2.0? San Francisco, Seattle Consider Increased City Investment

Written by Joan Engebretson

Two giant west coast cities, San Francisco and Seattle, are seriously considering more investment in Internet connectivity investment. Joan Engebretson of Telecompetitor covers this interest by positing these investments as the next step in real municipal investment for gigabit service.

Christopher Mitchell contributed to her coverage:

Could this be Municipal Gigabit 2.0? Two West coast cities, San Francisco and Seattle, are exploring new models for bringing ubiquitous gigabit to their constituents – models that would entail a higher level of city investment.

Big city gigabit rollouts to date have been achieved largely through private investment. But that could be changing now that gigabit pioneer Google Fiber has scaled back its deployment plans and cities have begun to question whether they can improve on the $70 a month or higher price that commercial network operators typically charge for gigabit service.

Google and other network operators began deploying gigabit services when cities began relaxing permitting procedures and, importantly, eliminating or relaxing requirements for networks to be deployed citywide. Cities now seem to be questioning the wisdom of allowing operators to cherry pick the neighborhoods in which they deploy gigabit services. And the revelation that Google may not roll out gigabit throughout Kansas City as originally planned could drive cities to rethink those policies.

“Universal access is a major factor” in why cities may rethink their broadband strategies, as is the desire to get better pricing, said Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband network for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in an interview with Telecompetitor.

He added, though, that high tech hub cities such as San Francisco and Seattle may have another motive as well.

“They’re trying to figure out how to be really cutting edge,” Mitchell said. These cities, he said, are noting a “gap between those who have OK cable service and those who have gigabit service.”


Read the full story here.