Seattleites tired of waiting for incumbents to provide better services, have decided to launch a campaign to establish Internet access as a public utility. In order to get the campaign off to a strong start, the founding group has launched a survey to choose a name.
Seattle has significant fiber resources in place, an electric utility, and strong grassroots support. Unfortunately, incumbent Comcast has been trying to curry favor within City Hall. But given that Seattle has joined Next Century Cities, the City seems focused on exploring all of its options.
When Chris presented in Seattle, he strongly encouraged them to organize a grassroots effort to support a community network. Now, a group of community organizers, artists, tech workers, and students are taking the next step forward because:
A 2014 report by the city found that "nearly 20% of Seattle residents do not have any Internet access.” Entire neighborhoods still lack access to Internet speeds necessary to take part in the modern economy. Without access, residents may not be able to apply for jobs, utilize city websites, finish their homework, operate a small business, display art, shop online, or video chat with a doctor from the comfort of their homes.
Even those with home access to Internet have too few options. The same city report showed that 45% of residents wanted better prices, and 33% wanted higher speeds than currently offered by the two dominant Internet providers: Comcast and CenturyLink.
Some of the names they suggest are "Seattle for Homegrown Internet," "Connecting Seattle," and "Seattle's Own Internet." They also offer the chance for participants to offer their own ideas.
Seattleites, we encourage you to share your opinion by taking the survey. In addition to naming the campaign, your participation will help organizers gauge the level of interest. You can also connect with the group and let them know you are willing to volunteer.
According to a Brown Paper Tickets Blog post, the new campaign name will be revealed on February 13th at the launch day for new Puget Sound radio stations and World Radio Day.
Local channel 5 also covered the story: