Neighbors Aim To Improve Broadband in Underserved Neighborhoods
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 5, 2 PM,City Hall, Council Chamber
Seattle City Council Committee on Public Safety, Civil Rights & Technology,
600 Fourth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98104
Committee Telephone: 206-684-8804,
Meeting Listen Line: 206-684-8566
Seattle, WA — The public is invited to attend, and especially residents of Beacon Hill and other underserved neighborhoods, an important meeting Wed. June 5, at 2 pm when neighbors, the group Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors UPTUN and a local telecommunications company testify to the importance of a public-private endeavor being considered by the Seattle City Council. If approved, the pilot project would allow CenturyLink to deploy next generation broadband to the Beacon Hill neighborhoods. If there is community support, CenturyLink hopes to be allowed to expand the pilot to other unserved and underserved neighborhoods throughout Seattle. The pilot will demonstrate how it is possible for companies such as CenturyLink to compete with the WAVE company ( that used to be Broadstripe). The pilot project will demonstrate the advantages of providing residents a choice for purchasing broadband services.
Issues to be discussed include: benefits of the proposed pilot project to citizens; ways the Council can mitigate significant barriers to implementation; finding ways to expedite the project; description of the demand for providing viable competitive broadband choices on North Beacon Hill and other neighborhoods. A major problem is the “Director’s rule”by SDOT. There is pent up demand for service by renters; not property owners.
The pilot project is supported by UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors)www.uptun.org , a volunteer group since 2009 working to promote reliable high-speed Internet and cable at affordable costs so they are on par with other Seattle neighborhoods.
“We applaud the City Council and Century Link to consider this innovative pilot project ….. we think it will demonstrate how improved broadband sources can be delivered to historically underserved neighborhoods in Seattle. So underserved neighbors have a choice of vendors means more residents can telecommute and businesses can be more competitive.” Tracy Bier, UPTUN. The group has determined that “underserved neighborhoods” suffer from lower quality service delivery due to a decades-old contract arrangement between the City of Seattle and a selected vendor, currently WAVE (used to be Broadstripe) as well as rules that impede placement of needed broadband infrastructure.
UPTUN learned recently that the City of Seattle’s permitting requirements are significantly more complex than other cities and towns in Washington, thereby discouraging new providers, especially in chronically underserved areas.