Here are few more details about Seattle’s broadband project that I wrote about in today’s column.
First, citywide Wifi isn’t high on the list of priorities. At least that’s my impression, after talking to Bill Schrier, the city’s chief technology officer. He mentioned the challenges EarthLink has had with municipal Wi-Fi in places such as San Francisco.
But he did say that Wi-Fi nodes could be added to the fiber that’s extended into neighborhoods. I think that’s an interesting option — maybe the city could provide free basic service on the same network. That would help lower-income residents overcome what’s really the biggest cost of computing nowadays, Internet service, and provide roaming access for everyone.
Schrier is also keeping his eye on Layfayette, La., and Clarksville, Tenn., as models of muncipal fiber providers.
He didn’t say which Seattle neighborhoods could get the fiber pilot project, but assured me that Paul Allen’s poeple haven’t been twisting his arm to put South Lake Union at the head of the line.
Here are some links if you’d like more background:
Seattle Broadband Initiative home page
A column I wrote a year ago questioning the broadband project.
A column on Qwest’s CEO discussing the company’s plans for broadband in Seattle.
The key report by the city’s broadband task force from May 2005
Contact info to provide input to the mayor.
The City Council’s Energy and Technology Committee.