About all that’s left of Mayor Mike McGinn’s promise to bring high-speed internet to Seattle neighborhoods in partnership with Gigabit Squared is the small company’s unpaid bill for $52,250.
Erin Devoto, Seattle’s chief technology officer, said that as of mid-November, the company’s phones were turned off and the city was unable to reach its officers. She turned over the bill for city staff’s preliminary engineering work on a broadband network to the City Attorney’s Office for collection.
McGinn made bringing high-speed internet to Seattle one of the priorities of his 2009 campaign for mayor. In 2012, he announced a deal with Gigabit Squared to lease the city’s unused dark fiber-optic cable and connect 14 Seattle neighborhoods to high-speed internet. Seattle was one of two cities, along with Chicago, where the company promised to invest $200 million.
Both GeekWire and the Puget Sound Business Journal reported in the past week that Seattle’s deal with Gigabit Squared was dead.
Devoto said that in her final conference call with company officials in November, they said they hadn’t been able to raise the needed capital. She said she plans to brief Mayor Ed Murray on the city’s options when he’s had a chance to settle in. Murray’s office did not return a request for comment.
Devoto said the outstanding bill is a small cost for investing in what was essentially an ambitious start-up effort.
“It’s not an easy lift. Very few places have made it work,” Devoto said.