Seattle invests in municipal broadband infrastructure

Seattle is pushing broadband providers to bring service to its Pioneer Square neighborhood. The city is a new construction project as an opportunity to lay conduit pipes for broadband providers to lease and bring service to the area. The pipes are for fiber-optic service or broadband which is nearly 100 times faster than DSL which provides much of the existing service in Pioneer Square. The Mayor has also said that if no company steps up to bid for the space, the city will work toward providing the service on its own.

The Mayor is hoping to be able to offer residents broadband by September of this year either through a private provider or through the city. Seattle also has additional plans to provide more pipes as construction projects around town move forward. The conduit will between the private service provider and the city in order to provide essential support to city services. In a press conference, the mayor acknowledged that Seattle was falling behind other cities in providing broadband service creating the need for the city to take the next step and invest in infrastructure.

The neighborhood has experienced an uptick in high-tech companies locating their headquarters there but without adequate broadband access it is unlikely that this trend will continue. In 2009, the Mayor made a promise to provide broadband access to all of Seattle and the concentration of high-tech jobs in the Pioneer Square neighborhood made this the logical starting place. The project is expected to cost $60,000.