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Outgoing Seattle mayor reveals delay in gigabit fiber network plans

updated 12:09 pm EST, Tue December 10, 2013

Issues in securing funding by Gigabit Squared puts fiber network at risk

Seattle's plans to have its own gigabit Internet service may be delayed longer than expected, according to the outgoing city mayor. Mike McGinn, the current Seattle mayor being replaced at the end of the year, revealed that current attempts to get the Gigabit Squared fiber network going have allegedly been hampered by issues in securing funding for the project.

McGinn told GeekWire "We're now a year into it and the question is, will it work or not?" advising that if a private company such as Gigabit Squared cannot raise the funds to create the network, public funds should be used for a city-run version. "It's one of the things I regret that I can't be around to be a part of, because I know which decision I'd make," said McGinn.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn
Seattle mayor Mike McGinn

The incoming mayor, Ed Murray, will have the final say when he takes over from McGinn, though this may not be favorable to supporters of the project. During the election, it was found that Murray's campaign received donations from Comcast, a company that would be against another fiber service starting up in the city and potentially poaching customers away from its existing services. At the time of the election, Murray advised that he supported the plan for another Internet service in Seattle.

The original plan for a privately-constructed network avoided the political obstacles of a municipal fiber network, one that could have cost tax payers up to $700 million. Gigabit Squared's build-out would have covered 12 initial neighborhoods, serving more than 50,000 households and businesses with fiber as well as wireless cloud services. The rollout to the first two areas would have taken place in the first quarter of 2014, but it has been put on hold.

While Murray has not revealed if he is inclined to go along with a publicly-funded fiber offering, he did state that this was the first he had heard of issues with Gigabit Squared funding, and would need to look at the situation before passing comment.

by MacNN Staff



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