Tacoma moves from courtship to consumation of deal to sell muni broadband system. Maybe

17 June 2019 by Steve Blum
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Good to be the king

The Tacoma city council unanimously approved a plan to lease its municipal cable system, called Click, to a relatively small local Internet service provider. After years of study and negotiation, the choice came down to turning over the struggling system to one of two locally based companies: Wave Broadband, which has a growing footprint of cable and telecoms operations in California, Oregon and Washington, and Rainier Connect, which operates primarily as a reseller in the Tacoma area.… More

Tacoma weighs risk and reward with list of muni broadband suitors down to two

15 March 2019 by Steve Blum
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The City of Tacoma has narrowed the list of possible buyers of its municipal cable system – aka Click – down to two local companies, Wave Broadband and Rainier Connect. A year ago, the city issued a request for information and qualifications and received responses from five companies. Only two initially met the city’s specifications – Wave and Yomura Fiber – but subsequent talks convinced Rainier to take on more risk, and led to Yomura’s exit, due to ownership concerns.… More

Teetering Tacoma muni cable system finds five potential partners

25 May 2018 by Steve Blum
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Five companies are bidding to partner up with the City of Tacoma to help run its municipal cable system, which offers Internet and video services. The city issued a request for information and qualifications in March, and received five responses, according to a story by Candice Ruud in the Tacoma News Tribune (h/t to the BSL List for the pointer)…

One of the parties that’s interested in being a part of the future of Click Cable TV is Wave Broadband, the same company whose 2015 offer to lease Click for 40 years sparked a local political movement to keep the municipally-owned network in public hands…

Wave responded to the call and said it seeks long-term use of the Click network in exchange for compensating [the City of Tacoma’s municipal utility operation] with leasing fees, network upgrades and performance guarantees.


Tacoma seeks private sector help for its city-owned cable system

1 April 2018 by Steve Blum
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The City of Tacoma wants to hang on to its municipal cable system, but it’s looking for someone else to come in and run it. It posted a request for information and qualifications (RFI), asking private sector companies to propose business models.

Examples given include leasing out the system as a whole to an operator, bringing in a company to manage it or running it as an open access system, where competing retail providers would buy wholesale capacity from the system and take responsibility for selling it to customers.… More

Tacoma muni fiber upgrade will need city subsidies, and that's the optimistic case

22 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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It’ll be a long time making up the shortfall, if everything goes perfectly.

If the City of Tacoma wants to hang on to control of its municipal cable system, adding broadband to the service – as the city council voted to do – won’t be enough to pay the bills. Financial help from the city will be needed to upgrade the system to gigabit capacity, according to a presentation prepared by a consultant for the Tacoma public utility board, which shares oversight responsibilities with the council.… More

Tacoma city council votes to double down on muni broadband

20 December 2015 by Steve Blum
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Go, but try to keep it in the city.

Tacoma’s municipal cable system will remain city owned and operated, at least for the foreseeable future. The Tacoma city council voted to reject offers made by locally-based broadband companies to lease the system, invest money in upgrades and operate it as a private business. Instead, the council told the city’s municipal electric utility, which runs the system, to come back with a business plan for keeping it in public hands by next April.… More

Muni HFC broadband subsidy lands on Tacoma electric bills

1 June 2015 by Steve Blum
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The meter is running.

Tacoma’s municipal electric system customers are paying more than three bucks a month to keep the city’s ageing broadband system running, whether they buy service from it or not. The municipal hybrid fiber cable TV system, which also supports Internet service, is reckoned to be losing $9.5 million year, according to a story by Kate Martin in the Tacoma News Tribune

[Tacoma Public Utilities] bosses have said that anything Click cannot pay will be borne by Tacoma Power customers, not all of whom can buy Click cable or Internet service.


Tacoma gets a competing offer for its muni broadband system

3 May 2015 by Steve Blum
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Another company has joined the bidding to take over the City of Tacoma’s ageing cable TV and broadband system, aka Click. Rainier Connect, a local cable, telephone and broadband company, says it’ll more or less match the terms offered by Wave Broadband and add a sweetener for Tacoma Public Schools.

Tacoma’s muni system is losing $9 million a year, according to recent reports and will also need extensive upgrade work. Wave stepped in with a proposal to pay the city $2 million a year for 40 or more years, and also invest an additional $1.5 million annually in plant upgrades.… More

Tacoma considers a private bailout plan for muni broadband system

20 April 2015 by Steve Blum
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Local choice is not a free ride.

The City of Tacoma might back out of the cable TV and broadband business, and lease its municipal cable system to a private operator for 40 years (h/t to the Baller-Herbst list for the pointer).

The muni system – branded Click – was built on the back of a fiber optic network originally installed to support the city-owned electric utility. It competes against Comcast and CenturyLink, which is a benefit to local residents in the sense that they have a third option and a source of pressure on what would otherwise be cable and telephone monopolies.… More

Tacoma loses money on muni cable, won't go all in on broadband to make up the difference

25 November 2014 by Steve Blum

Tacoma, Washington has a municipal broadband network that started out offering cable television service and then later added broadband. The system grew out of a fiber network that was originally installed to support the city-owned electric utility.

Called Click, the hybrid fiber-coax system was upgraded to DOCSIS 3 standards a couple of years ago. It competes with Comcast head-on, and with CenturyLink in the broadband space. Like any small cable system, Click has struggled with increasing programming costs.… More