I'm ditching Comcast, and in the process getting rid of cable television and their phone service entirely. Going all Internet for video viewing, and mobile phone for mobile service. I feel like I've finally caught up to 2013.
CenturyLink knows exactly what they're doing. They went door to door in the CD selling "Fiber" in replace of WAVE. After asking three times, "Are you sure? Fiber?" They said yes, so I signed up. When they installed it, I got 4MBs down. I immediately called and cancelled. They asked why and I told them they had a representative selling "Fiber" in the neighborhood. They couldn't believe it and said they'd look into it.
Is this a transcript of text chat? Because if they said 40MB/s that's fast. But I think they mean 40Mbps which is nice but no gigabit.

Anyways, just wanted to point out that even their abbreviations are wrong and misleading, causing them to overstate their speed by eightfold.
Eager to dump Comcast, I called Verizon to ask if -- by some miracle -- their "FiOS" service was available in our neighborhood. They said "Why yes it IS" -- and they transferred me to a Century Link marketer, who tried to sell me their lame non-fiber "Fiber" they have in Seattle. Just slipperiness, all around. Thank god the FCC is starting to regulate the MFers.
A CenturyLink rep rang my doorbell a few months ago in Madrona and relayed a similar story although they were a bit more blatant:
- claimed they'd just installed fiber in my neighborhood.
- claimed their 7 Mbps service would trounce my 30 Mbps cable.
- promised to waive the $150 installation fee if I signed up there on the spot.

The entire pitch was fishy. After the fiber claim, he kept pitching me what I later realized to be DSL. Even the installation fee was a fabrication.

Seems to be more than just a misinformed CS rep.
I think the 2009 cost for muni was $480mil.

Also, you can go to centurylink's web to find out if they offer gigabit speed to a particular address in 3 minutes (just did it).
And no, neither for-profit company will ever cover the city, every address, with gig service.
When is the Seattle study to be completed this month? I'm really curious to see what the study says. Regardless, Seattle needs to get it done now rather than waiting another 10 years.
I can't even get Centurylink DSL in my interbay condo, so comcast is my only choice for broadband of any kind.
MrBaker, I live on North Beacon Hill and have seen all the infrastructure improvements CenturyLink has installed along S. College St (just a house away), so I went to their website. It told me that 1gb was not available, but then I did a chat, and was told that yes, my address did have it available. I then asked for the price and was sent down a rabbit hole of "bundles" (phone line, Direct TV, home security, automatic doorbell, foot massage, etc) and I gave up. It was beyond ridiculous.
I live in Madrona. Also got a visit from CL, and am eager to ditch Comcast, so signed up for the gigabit deal. They called about a week later and said that they were sorry but that the neighborhood was overprovisioned and could I settle for 20m/sec. I said no, shipped their stuff back and figured that was the end of it. Then, a few days later, a CL guy came to my door trying to sell me gigabit service.
I live in Eastlake, a neighborhood without any sort of gigabit fiber. However, two girls that must have been about 19 stopped by my house dressed like mormons with name tags and told me all about how great CenturyLink Gigabit is, and how they recently upgraded their whole system to make it infinitely better than Comcast.

When I told them I had just talked to CenturyLink the previous week and that it was not in fact available, this was apparently news to them. Turns out they were just lost (or misinformed) and were canvassing the entirely wrong neighborhood. I don't know which neighborhoods do have this service available, but don't tell me I'm in one of them when I'm clearly not. I can see exactly how this guy ended up in his situation, when there isn't any incentive for either CL or Comcast to upgrade from the status quo.

The mayor needs to get the ball rolling on municipal fiber, whatever it takes. Take some of that 30% rise in downtown property taxes and spend it on network infrastructure.
Thing is, you guys realize that municipal BB is basically impossible without CTL's COs, switches and backbones? How many COs do you think can be built and the fiber placed with permitting, construction, contractor work with ease? It's not that easy. I do it for a living. The Westin downtown is basically EVERYTHING you know about the Internet if you live on the west coast. It is a MASSIVE switch that exists on many levels/floors -- backup DC power and all that, that all must pass through just because it has to in order to first google your friend's facebook page then send him an email in New Zealand and then see him update his profile. All of it is outside of the realm of a truly "free" municipal broadband.
All ye who will, gather around Auntie Catalina's knee, and listen to "Municipal Fiber: An inspirational tale..."

More than a century ago, Seattle experienced a horrible fire, which destroyed basically the entire business district. Part of the reason that fire was so horrible was that the privately owned water system proved woefully inadequate to put out anything other a garden-variety fire.

That fire was the impetus to create a city water department. As was the style at the time, the city paid way too much to buy out the existing water provider (which was owned by dreadful people like Henry Yesler, who was pretty much involved in just about anything dreadful in Seattle in those day). On the plus side, it was the start of one of the best water systems in the world (seriously, look it up).

Pretty soon, electricity started to show up. Anybody and their brother could start an electric company and charge whatever they felt like. Even the city fathers (who, were not exactly saints - see Henry Yesler) were exasperated by this, so they started what is now City Light to provide street lights at a reliable rate, using the power created from the newly created municipal water facility at Cedar Falls.

About that time, an Irish-Canadian engineer with a chip on his shoulder (you know how they are) by the name of JD Ross started working for the Water/Power department. He looked at the private electric utilities, who had by that time had merged into what is now PSE, and (more politely) said "Fuck it. We can do more than streetlights" and started providing service to normal people. The first customer was a Presbyterian church (or some Protestant enterprise. They all look alike to me)

This caused a terrible to-do. And when that Irish-Canadian upstart proposed building some hydro dams, the establishment (What is now PSE, but was portrayed at the time as The Seattle Times) had about four decades of drama fits. The dams would collapse. This was creeping Socialism, blah, blah, blah.

This went on for years, with that awful Socialist City Light competing directly with PSE. PSE's prices had to be kept very low because of that, which put the stockholders in a terrible mood. Eventually, in the early 50's, after a referendum (which was very close, and had to be recounted by hand, which just goes to show that Seattle has always had NIMBY's) City Light became the sole electric provider for Seattle and seven suburban communities, and the world didn't end.

Times have certainly changed, but the lesson here is that a self-supporting, tax-paying government entity like City Light became part of the larger electrical utility infrastructure, and still maintained low rates and reliable service.

What's to say there can't be a telecom equivalent?
I don't live in Seattle any more, but when I lived in a first hill condo I used and it was spectacular. They only cover a limited set of buildings but it's worth checking out.
*clapclapclap* Catalina Vel-DuRay
"What's to say there can't be a telecom equivalent?"

Um. That we're not getting our power from (the example I used) New Zealand. The data has to be transmitted somehow. Power and data are two different things -- not only that, so is copper and fiber. Don't worry, I am well versed in especially Seattle history. Heck, I even have a history website. I agree with the sentiment of municipal broadband, but you're still gonna use century link who before it was Qwest, before that USWest and before that whatever "bell" it was at the time. Do you propose the city completely "wire up" the entire world for it to be "free" for us? If we're talking infrastructure and be free, that's what it would take. How many electrical devices do you think existed in say Seattle 1911?

And indeed about power, in the early 1900s you ordered your power from the company you chose and they would bring out a new line for you, place it on the pole and hook it up. However you are getting that power from somewhere fairly close. Internet/connectivity doesn't work that way. Sorry.

Just ring up the operator at STTLWAMA and ask for 1234. All that shit still exists but there is nobody you can call to connect you personally. Cellphone use and mobile data also have to use this. It's called "backhaul".
Ortolans dear, my point was that City Light, as both a generator and purchaser of power (both through BPA and on the private market) successfully integrates itself into a larger network - and that it came about because of a situation where the private sector was gouging people.

I know nothing of how the Internet and telecom works, but there are a few examples of municipalities and PUD's getting involved in telecom. Chattanooga is probably the most extreme, but even here in WA state there is Tacoma and several PUD's that provide at least some infrastructure, albeit not the "last mile"

And I don't think it should be free. That's just silly. But I would hope there's a way that local government, which is more responsive than private corporations and has no investor class to please (other than the ratepayers) could help keep prices affordable and policies equitable.

I know it's not 1906, and that power markets and infrastucture are very different than telecom markets and infrastructure. But I am always a little discouraged when modern people just say that nothing can be done. It seems a bit defeatist to me. Something can almost always be done, but it often means taking on corporate power, which we seem to be very meek about.

First, don't use the chiding "dear" -- I can't stand that. I know exactly what you are saying and I understand. What you don't understand, it seems, is that century link owns the backbone and the all important switches in the CO. You can take on corporate power just fine. I'm "anti-corporate" myself just happen to work for one.

Just the nuts and bolts deal with many companies and there is a method in which you get "right of way". The conduits or "hand holes" need to be shared. I don't understand the politics of this any more than you. But permitting in Seattle is a fiasco and can take a long time -- including road closures and shit. You can take a look at Cheyenne WY to see what I mean. Simple, simple. Seattle has about a dozen COs and thousands of non-central switches. You just are not going to be able to lay it down in the way people imagine municipal broadband to be.
I call everyone dear, Ortolan. I'm sorry if you take that as some sort of insult. I mostly never mean it that way.

So you are saying that even Comcast eventually goes through Qwest, or is that a whole other ballgame? And if it's as locked down as you say, how are towns like Tacoma and Chattanooga getting around it?

Catalina, you rock. Thank you for the history lesson. I think sometimes people who have lived here a long time forget that our socialist electric utility here is kind of unusual, and also that it works pretty damned well.
This may or may not be as big a problem in The City but eight years ago, I went through two ADSL providers before giving up on the technology. Reason? It's very distance dependent. It gives out entirely after 12,000 ft from the "CO" (telephone central office where the twisted copper pair terminates) and I was at 14,400 (no problem, both told me). But it also is affected by various things like weather (bad on a rainy day, go figure).

Here's the funny mention Obama and yes there was a Rural Broadband act passed the result of which is that some Washington State PUDs in the really remote counties of Washington State have true 1G fiber -- because they let residences along the way tap into their fiber lines! Hah, so some farmer in Adams county has better broadband than Seattle (and Kent). Still! Read it and weep:…

And Oregon:…

Me? I'm still hooked up to Clear Wimax wireless broadband and getting a solid 8Mpbs which is all I need and more (2Mpbs being sufficient for streaming, and 70% of what I do anyway is text, which requires nearly nothing in bandwidth). I fear the day the LTE bandits take it away from me, but I also am prepared with a few "outs".

Supreme Ruler dear, grant county is very much in Washington State.
Could someone explain to me exactly what one 'needs' gigabit internet for? I have 2Mbps and I have no problem streaming anything I've ever wanted..
Regarding gigabit speeds: having worked in telecom for a years, having a "gigabit speed" link between you and the telco central office really isn't going to speed up *most* connections to anything. All you'd have is a nice connection back to the CO.The servers you will be connecting to, websites, newspapers, streaming services whatever, with exception (cached services, or perhaps your telco has "peered" w/ some other telco and what you are trying to get to is coincidentally RIGHT THERE) are out there elsewhere on the Interweb, and aren't going to be providing *class of service* back to you anywhere close to a gig; more likely tens of megabit speeds. Which is more than enough for anybody, exceptions being multi-tenant households of power-users. I mean, exactly what can one person be doing all at the same time? Streaming a movie, downloading some files, listening to radio and reading blogs all at once? How much bandwidth could that possibly eat up, on what is a consumer grade no-guarantees broadband connection --and remember, hype not withstanding, it is ONLY gig back to the CO, nowhere else.
The internet isn't *built* such that you, Joe User, have any sort of guaranteed throughput to anything at all, really. In the world of telecom, if you want guaranteed bandwidth to some other network you pay for that Elite service, and through the nose.
So, that ANY telco offers "gigabit service" is absurd on it's face. That fiber, yes, may be able to run a gig back to the CO (central office) but from there how your packets are treated as they leave that carrier's network and shuttle about on the internet is a crapshoot at best.
I have no need for a gigabit service. I'm actually not displeased with my internet service, at least from a from a technical standpoint. I just did a test, and I get 124 Mbps download and 10 mbps for uploads (I have no idea of that's good or not) I would just like it to be more affordable, and not tied to a cable TV service which is loaded down with crap religious and shopping channels, and a phone that I have never even hooked up.

I know that I could scrap the cable, but I have tried digital antennas and I don't get good reception, and I am just old enough that I want the local channels. I'd also like MSNBC, Comedy Central, and HBO. The rest is meh.
@22 You are correct 40MB is the fastest VDSL speed Century Link offers. VDSL is even more distance sensitive than regular ADSL2. So if one is not close to the DSLAM good luck on getting that speed.
I prolly shouldn't reveal too much but I just opened a job for Clear last week. Clear uses the COs. In fact there is a vast bank of telco equipment that makes it all possible. I can sorta "check under the hood", but Clear-WiMax is all just leased from CenturyLink as far as the "nuts and bolts". I was on a call last week where I joked I had Clearwire for about two years for free. I don't know if I heard laughs or what. But it is true, I slipped through the cracks for a good amount of time. Never paying a dime.

Believe me, I am not a "company man" but municipal broadband is not what you think it is or what it would be. As far as distance, I had a drop of 44 miles of fiber last week which I had to send to someone else because I don't know how to do those distances. The wire center (CO) was that far from the customer in order to create the "non-local CO". All for the most part impossible 15 years ago because it was all largely copper. You could totally pay to get the Gig kinda like back in the day one would desire a T1.

My point is, as I stated above, is that this isn't electrical power that runs on a current. It is data that these days is point to point. No more 1930s style party lines for an entire building.

YET the "ancient" way still works and ostensibly always will. You know how your landline still works in a power outage? Generators and batteries, yo!

Anyhow, I find it fascinating. Also, I'm not arguing, it's just I think people believe that municipal broadband would just be as easy as City Light. Just remember wire centers (COs) and switches!
Well, it should be noted that the development of City Light was not at all "easy". It was a deadly serious struggle that brought down a Mayor and involved both espionage and suspicions of sabotage. And it went on for years.

And I'm not here to argue either. I'm just wondering what the PUD's in Washington, and the cities of Tacoma and Chattanooga did that made it work.

Here's an article on the Chattanooga installation that gives it some background. This was part of a big capital project by their municipal Utility, but there's really no reason why it couldn't be done by another department, should the city choose to go that route.…
I live on Beacon Hill and have been stalking the fiber installers as they move from street to street. I noticed a new box on a pole on 16th and Hanford (two blocks from my house). I chatted with the installers testing it and found out the day it was going to be turned on. I called that day, they installed a fiber line to my house the following Saturday. I was very nervous it would be a shit-show, being Centurylink, but so far, I have true 1000Mbit up and down. I have not been able to saturate it or even find many speed tests that can even get above 800Mbits/sec. So far so good. It exists! But I was very cautious and did not have my hopes too high.
The people who say that 'no one needs gigabit' have not really thought about it. I am now able to utilize cloud backup services at over 100Mbit outgoing, so online backup is almost instant. I can access my home computers at the full speed of any other network I am on, and push and copy files like I am on my home network. I can have friends back up to me over the internet, I can roll my own DropBox-style sharing system, I'm sure I can think of other things. It's been 45 days now and it has never seemed slow. I have been able to sustain 900megabits a second upload during a stress test - for an hour. Uploading files to Amazon S3, Dreamhost, Google Drive and Windows Azure at the same time, hit 800Mbits. So, if you can get it, it's great.
Wave is supposedly rolling out gigabit on Beacon Hill as well, but since they actually sent me a 'data usage' nastygram when I had to restore from an online backup, they can go to hell. I used 8% of my bandwidth 24/7 for 45 days and exceeded my 'transfer cap'. Fuck them.
@25 Since you state you worked in a telecom for many years then maybe you can answer a simple backbone question. Since there is already a nationwide multi-gig backbone built why don't the telecoms use it? Designed by AT&T and built by them and MCIWorldCOMM due to an agreement between them and the government to allow desegregation of the phone companies. They invested several billion dollars designing and building this backbone. Then never ever terminating it and using it. Why would that be?
The US has the best backbone ever made but it can't be used since the people that built it won't allow ANYONE (not even themselves) to use it. Now why would that be?

Just a simple question.

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