Google Fiber goes boringly conventional in Seattle

10 June 2017 by Steve Blum
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At first it tried to disrupt the broadband industry in the U.S. with full scale fiber to the home deployments, but the financial realities of a capital intensive business with a long term return on investment horizon has forced Google Fiber into a traditional small ISP business model. Its latest move – into a high rent Seattle high rise – is a low risk venture. According to a blog post by its Webpass subsidiary

Today, we announced that Webpass is ready to move into the Emerald City, one Ethernet-wired building at a time.


Comcast offers Seattle the Philly weasel, er, deal

11 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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After months of fighting, Comcast and the City of Philadelphia reached agreement on a new 15 year cable franchise agreement that included a few spiffs, like expanded eligibility for the low income, $10 a month Internet Essentials program. The announcement came on the eve of a city council vote in Seattle, that would have approved a less generous deal. So, Seattle balked and asked for the same terms as given to Philadelphia. Surprisingly rapidly, Comcast and Seattle negotiators agreed on a few deal sweeteners, including the same IE eligibility upgrade.… More

To nimby or not to nimby is the dilemma for Seattle and Portland broadband upgrades

4 April 2014 by Steve Blum
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Not every emerald city has a wizard to rely on.

Broadband doesn’t arrive by magic. It needs stuff. Like poles and towers and boxes that don’t necessarily match the neighborhood decor. That simple fact is often lost on nimby homeowners who want to be able to watch four channels of Netflix HD movies at once, but don’t want a small, green box planted anywhere nearby.

Seattle and Portland are two cities where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to install telecoms street furniture.… More

Illinois says Gigabit Squared lied repeatedly, wants $2 million back

Once upon a time, it was strictly formal dress for sunrise.

The company that sold magically cheap fiber and a business case built on fairy dust to Seattle, then left town owing fifty grand is in even bigger trouble in Chicago. The state of Illinois gave Gigabit Squared a $2 million grant to deploy “ultra high speed” Internet access on the city’s south side and, to say the least, isn’t seeing results, according to a story in the Chicago Sun-Times (h/t to the Baller-Herbst list for the pointer)…

Gigabit Squared, a Cincinnati-based company that last May touted the high-speed project in nine South Side communities, “has lied repeatedly” about its intentions and may have spent only $250,000 of the grant money for legitimate purposes, said David Roeder, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, which issued the grant.


Muni broadband wins voters' hearts in Colorado but not Seattle

6 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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Filling up in Colorado, half empty and still deflating in Seattle.

Seattle voters yesterday turfed out mayor Mike McGinn, their broadband cheerleader-in-chief, giving the job to state senator Ed Murray by a preliminary margin of 56% to 43%. It was a different story in the Rocky Mountain town of Longmont, where residents overwhelmingly approved a fiber-to-the-home bond measure, 68% to 32%.

FTTH was a prominent McGinn campaign promise, both this year and in 2009, when he was elected mayor.… More

Slow broadband a drag on Seattle mayor's re-election campaign

I’ll have what she’s having.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn is running for re-election and the editorial page of the Seattle Times, which has never particularly cared for him, is homing in on his failure to build fiber to every home and business in the city…

With a campaign pledge of broadband Internet for all, Mike McGinn promised big, delivered small, and hopes voters won’t notice the difference.

KUOW-FM, Seattle’s University of Washington-owned NPR powerhouse, reached a similar conclusion, although in a better researched and more nuanced way

When Mike McGinn ran for mayor in 2009, he campaigned on the promise of high-speed internet for all of Seattle.


Gigabit Seattle raising FTTH attention but not cash

Adding lift to a trial balloon.

The Gigabit Seattle team is trying to tap into Google Fiber’s buzz by releasing a fiber-to-the-home pricing plan that sounds a lot like what’s on offer in Kansas City, albeit for a few dollars more and with a little less freebie time. Otherwise, there’s been precious little in the way of specific information about the project since it was announced six months ago.

What I wrote then is true today: Gigabit Seattle’s financial vehicle is still a concept car.… More

Caveat vendor: the customer can say no

11 June 2013 by Steve Blum
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Thank you for your input.

Organizational budgets and goals are set in the C-suite, defining the resources and limiting the options available to IT executives. Then it’s up to them to find solutions that maximize employees’ chances of meeting those goals while minimizing the pain and staying within the budget.

IT executives have to balance the arts of managing up and implementing down. The best outcome occurs when everyone’s needs, wants and dreams are fulfilled. It’s a tough job that requires a diverse set of skills.… More

Metro broadband: without the political cards, you're not playing with a full deck

Political value: the need for speed at the San Leandro public library.

There’s an argument to the effect that the prices charged for broadband service by telcos and cable companies in urban areas are higher than necessary to provide that service and make a reasonable profit.

It’s not crazy talk. You can make a case that more densely populated areas have lower per household costs – opex and capex – and that more affluent areas have higher profit margins.… More

The problem with FTTH is there's no problem

It’s not about finding a mass market solution. It’s about finding a sufficiently acute mass market problem.

The struggle to develop a general fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) or premises (FTTP) business model for city-wide deployments doesn’t result from a market failure. Quite the contrary. It’s evidence that the laws of supply and demand are in full effect.

Demand, meet supply.

People generally get the broadband service someone else – a business or government agency mostly – is willing to give them for the price they’re willing to pay.… More