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Feb 13, 2014 Akbar31 commented on The Comcast/Time Warner Deal Proves That Libertarianism Doesn't Work.
This isn't a fight about libertarianism. Most cable companies operate under city or state-run franchises which are either exclusive or create such a barrier to entry to the marketplace that competition is not truly existent. In Seattle, there are basically two cable providers, Comcast and Wave. They operate in completely different distinct franchise areas and do not compete with each other. The only real competitor to either of the two cable providers in broadband is CenturyLink - and they've been trying to get the city to fix its rules involving telecom cabinets so they can be competitive.
Feb 13, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Municipal Broadband Would Provide the Competition Necessary to Make Seattle's Broadband Market Function.
@21 agree we need cheaper, faster service. But I don't think a muni broadband network in Seattle is going to accomplish that in the timeframe people want - not citywide at least. The real problem is getting fiber out to the neighborhoods and all the single family homes. In dense multi-family / multi-tenant areas, you have lots of providers. Neighborhoods like South Lake Union have great service options. You get out to Beacon Hill and Central District, though, and that's a problem. We have to address those first.
Feb 13, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Municipal Broadband Would Provide the Competition Necessary to Make Seattle's Broadband Market Function.
@8 Yep those are average speeds coming from Ookla, which runs speedtest.net, so it includes connections that are much faster and much slower. On average, though, the Comcast network is faster than the Tacoma Click! network. That's just what the aggregate data show.
Feb 13, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Municipal Broadband Would Provide the Competition Necessary to Make Seattle's Broadband Market Function.
@7 There's a reason why the city backed off forking out $465M for an open-access network identified in their 2007 plan. They don't have the expertise to build it. They don't even have the expertise to select a good network partner and instead chose Gigabit Squared, who left town with a $52K bill. Before the taxpayers double-down on muni fiber, we should be asking hard questions, not jumping on promises we can't keep.
Feb 12, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Municipal Broadband Would Provide the Competition Necessary to Make Seattle's Broadband Market Function.
Goldy -

Love the idea of muni fiber, but there are warning signs all over the place and we should proceed with high degree of caution. The UTOPIA network in Provo, UT had to sell its fiber network to Google Fiber for a dollar because (and I quote from the Mayor): "Originally, we wanted to sell it for cash,” he said. “But it became evident no one would pay cash.” The thing was worthless. “Potential buyers looked at the network and said it’s not worth anything.”

Source: http://perspectivesonthenews.blogs.deser…

The Tacoma Click! Network, the muni fiber/coax ISP, was created for over $100M and is now slower than Comcast's network. It is, in fact, less than half the speed of the Comcast network.

Source: http://www.netindex.com/download/3,91/Wa…

This is not an easy thing to build and we need to make sure that we've fixed as many of the issues as we can at the city *before* we embark on the muni fiber talk.

Source: http://www.govtech.com/network/What-Happ…
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Jan 22, 2014 Akbar31 commented on CenturyLink Says City Regulations on Utility Cabinets Hinder Broadband Upgrades.
@10: Silly! Big Berthas are underground, which is exactly what the city is trying to do with these! They will be ten times the normal price and create massive digs in our neighborhoods.
Jan 22, 2014 Akbar31 commented on CenturyLink Says City Regulations on Utility Cabinets Hinder Broadband Upgrades.
Let's hope the city fixes this quickly. Seems like a stupid rule that's holding back faster broadband.
Jan 9, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Gigabit Est Mort, Vive Le Gigabit!.
For everyone who thinks Tacoma's Click! Network is so much better than Seattle's Internet access speeds, Tacoma actually has worse average speeds than Seattle. Tacoma averages 22.94Mbps vs. Seattle's 25.17Mbps, according the NetIndex.com.

While Seattle is ranked only #31 out of the top #50 WA cities, Tacoma ranks #41 out of the top #50. That shows you everything you need to know.

Now the counter-factual to that is Grant County PUD, which has a huge fiber network. But they spent over $100M on that about 10 years ago and serve about 6,000 residents today. You can figure out the ROI on that.
Jan 9, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Gigabit Est Mort, Vive Le Gigabit!.
@16

Those photos in that article are not what CenturyLink is proposing today, which is much reduced in size and scope. The problem is that media can only go out and snap photos of what's already in the ground, which is equipment from decades ago. Today's cabinets and equipment are much smaller.

As to your notion that the city should easily be able to deploy 1Gbps service using existing dark fiber, you have to realize that dark fiber is not to the node in many places, much less fiber to the home. In 2007, the City conducted a study which indicated it would cost in excess of $700M to build out a fiber network across Seattle. That's around, what, $1,100 for every man, woman and child in the city.

Plus, it isn't just about laying fiber in the ground. That's the easy part. It's about that last mile of how you get it into buildings and the rooms and units in those buildings. It's also about the cost of networking equipment including routers which must be maintained at specific temperatures and humidity levels - and draw a ton of power.

That's just the wholesale part of it, since under state law, you have can create a wholesale fiber network, but not operate the retail part of it. You've got to find a reasonable retail partner who has the experience and wherewithal to maintain and upgrade the expansion of the routers and equipment, negotiate installation and maintenance contracts with individual building owners that cover insurance and potential damage to the buildings - as well determine what rights there are on-site for marketing efforts and whether or not there are exclusionary agreements already in place (ie., door fees, exclusive marketing arrangements). That partner has got to create a massive marketing effort to publicize and sell the service to existing users from other providers - including going up against Comcast, which has a bajillion dollars and locked in service contracts with their customers, along with triple play capability. That retail partner also must have a massive customer service department capable of answering hundreds of complaints, service upgrade requests, and general questions about networking.

The point is: there are not a lot of players who can do this at the scale that would serve Seattle's 600,000+ residents. I'm not saying it cannot be done, but you have to understand that even with a $700M muni fiber build commitment, you are not out of the woods.

Oh yeah, and then you have the Seattle Process to contend with, which will delay your deployment schedule for another 10 years. I'm all for open democracy, but the reality is that opening this up to the will of the voters will not necessarily get you where you want to go.
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Jan 8, 2014 Akbar31 commented on Gigabit Est Mort, Vive Le Gigabit!.
Not sure about Comcast, Goldy, but CenturyLink has actually been trying to build faster Internet, but they keep getting stymied by the city, due to an outdated rule involving placing telecom cabinets in the right of way: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/centuryl….

The culprit here is SDOT, which needs to move much faster in changing this rule. Sadly, thousands of people up on Beacon Hill and the Central District have had broadband access curtailed because the city can't move fast enough to fix this regulation.
 

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