City of Seattle releases municipal broadband feasibility report

The City of Seattle today released the City of Seattle Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, a feasibility study originally commissioned in December 2014 as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s three-part broadband internet strategy.

Read the report here.

“Broadband internet service is a necessity in the 21st century but many Seattle residents don’t have equal access,” said Michael Mattmiller, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This report builds on past studies and take a comprehensive look at whether the City could provide universal broadband service in today’s landscape that is affordable, competitive and equally accessible to everyone.”

In the study, the consultant examined the feasibility of a municipal broadband delivery model, focusing on:

  • Reviewing the financial feasibility of constructing and operating a municipal broadband network in Seattle;
  • Evaluating the services and applications that are most likely to be utilized over a high-capacity data network; and
  • Analyzing current market conditions to gauge consumer interest in a broadband service and the current offerings in the market place.

Less than estimated in previous studies, the report estimates a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build out to cost $480 – $665 million. To cover these costs, market penetration at monthly service charge of $75 would need to exceed 40 percent, higher than the take rates achieved by any other municipal broadband utility in the country.

Additional findings include:

  • The study found that the most feasible approach to constructing and operating a successful municipal broadband utility would be through a joint venture, where the City would work with a partner to create a service that allows the City to maintain its status as a technology leader and provide equity to the public.
  • The study looked into the impacts that service price changes, even as minimal as $5, would make on customer subscriber rate and city finances. With a smaller customer base or prices below a $75 monthly charge, financials deteriorate quickly and the City is exposed to significant potential losses. With a proposed service price increase of just $10, raising it to $85 per month, the study found customer interest fell significantly, also exposing the city to substantial risk.
  • Incumbents and competitors are moving into the market, offering high-speed and gigabit service to increasing number of customers.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that internet is an essential service, while 30 percent indicated that it is affordable.

Mayor Murray unveiled his three-step broadband approach in June 2014, which he has worked on continuously in that time to reduce regulatory barriers, explore public/private partnerships and examine municipal broadband. Read more here.

The City’s broadband study was performed by CTC Technology & Energy, an independent communications and engineering consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience. CTC was paid $180,000 to complete the study.

 

WAVE Broadband cable customers: We want to hear from you!

 

 

Seattle’s cable franchise with WAVE expires in 2017.

We’re gathering community input as we prepare for negotiating the new franchise.

Join our first community meeting on the WAVE franchise renewal:

Monday, June 8, 2015
6 – 7:30 pm
Douglass-Truth Library
23rd & Yesler, Seattle, WA

Can’t make this meeting? There are other ways to share input:

e-mail: cableoffice@seattle.gov
telephone: 206-684-8498

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/cable/franchiserenewal.

Join Us For Seattle Speaks: “Privacy Politics”

In our open data, cloud computing world, privacy is a key issue that continually needs to be addressed. The City of Seattle recently adopted its own set of Privacy Principles to keep our citizens informed and protected and to provide transparency.  Our department-specific  Privacy Tool Kits will be implemented in the coming months.

Seattle is taking the lead on privacy issues, but as technology changes, so will privacy initiatives.   With that in mind, the next topic for Seattle City Club’s Seattle Speaks series is “Privacy Politics.”

Bruce Harrell, Seattle City Council Member & Chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee

Join Councilmember Bruce Harrell, Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller, Seattle PD COO Mike Wagers and others as they offer insight on topics like:  Are we losing control of our digital privacy?  Does releasing certain government-held information harm or help the public?

 Seattle Speaks is Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at Town Hall. You can even submit questions right now on the registration page.  Doors open at 6 pm. Because this event is televised live, audience members are asked to take their seats by 6:30 pm for the 7 pm program.

The Emmy-award winning Seattle Speaks series is presented in partnership with Seattle CityClubSeattle Channel and Town Hall.

 

Don’t Throw Your Electronics Away! e-Cycle Them!

Recycling is easy: paper, plastic, compost. You also take your old clothes or furniture to your favorite charitable thrift shop. But what about your old computers, monitors, or other old technology? Now you can safely recycle your outdated electronics. Interconnection.org will e-cycle anything with a cord.

Bring your laptops, desktops, mobile device, monitors, printers, mice, keyboards, cables, anything with a cord to CenturyLink Field on Saturday, April 11th to the North Parking Lot from 10am to 2pm.

 

 

Mayor, officials weigh in on historic FCC votes

Today, after the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality and municipal broadband choices, Mayor Ed Murray, Councilmember Bruce Harrell and Chief Technology Officer Michael Mattmiller issued the following statements:

“I applaud the FCC for passing the strongest net neutrality rules in Internet history, a vital decision for not only entrepreneurs, but for the future of our democracy,” Mayor Ed Murray said. “High-quality, high-speed Internet is essential to an open society and I thank the FCC for allowing municipalities to make local choices about how to increase competition for high-speed Internet that is appropriate for their cities.”

“This is a historic moment in preserving and protecting our right to a fast, inclusive and open Internet,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee. “The Internet is now a necessity, giving everyone a voice, access to education, and opportunity in our economy. Today’s ruling ensures a tech startup or a small business are able to compete on equal footing with larger companies by prohibiting paid prioritization and throttling of content and services.”

Although the decision of the FCC directly affects Tennessee and North Carolina, it sends a resounding message nationally that local choice is vital for next-generation Internet adoption. Local government knows the needs of our residents and businesses best and local officials are directly accountable to their constituents, which is why this decision is so important. It’s critical for communities to have the ability to choose the best way to provide high-quality Internet for its public,” said Michael Mattmiller, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer. “Competition benefits all members in a community and similar to any other market, high-speed broadband Internet is frequently better and cheaper when communities have choices about how that Internet service is provided. The City of Seattle commissioned a study in November to explore creation of a municipal broadband internet utility in Seattle. We look forward to receiving the results of this study in April.”