An ambitious proposal to bring ultra-fast broadband to Seattle’s neighborhoods has not only fizzled, reports Seattle’s GeekWire, but has resulted in an overdue bill of $52,250, owed to the city of Seattle by Gigabit Squared, the company behind the project.
UPDATE: Seattle’s fiber-network deal with Gigabit Squared is dead. Mayor Ed Murray has stated he’s seeking other companies with a “more realistic financing mechanism” to lease the fiber and move forward with the program.
Gigabit Seattle, a broadband provider piggybacking on Seattle’s government network, said it would charge $80 per month for Gigabit service. It planned to begin offering broadband fiber in pockets of the city last fall.
The Gigabit Seattle plan is still officially scheduled to roll out to 12 Seattle neighborhoods by March, 2014, but previous Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, a driving force behind the gigabit project; told GeekWire last month the service has been delayed and cast doubt on its viability.
The wrangling over the unpaid bill, says GeekWire, is noteworthy in part because the sum is so small — a tiny fraction of the many millions that would have been required to get the project off the ground, taking advantage of unused capacity in the city’s 500 miles of fiber-optic cabling.
The company had been targeting an early 2014 rollout for two of the 14 “demonstration” areas — University District and Capitol Hill — with the rest slated to get access to Gigabit’s network by the end of 2014.
In a statement last month, Gigabit Squared said it had “completed several rounds of investment financing” and was “currently executing projects in Illinois and Florida with a combination of public and private funding.”
The company said they’ll use a combination of licensed and unlicensed spectrum between 11 and 60 Gigahertz to deliver a gigabit between the rooftops. They may have to use something other than WiGig at 60 GHz.
When Seattle decided to lease capacity on its network, Gigabit was one of ten companies that expressed interest, explains Brier Dudley of the Seattle Times.
Chicago was the first recipient of the Gigabit Neighborhood Gateway Program where the University of Chicago, communities like Woodlawn, state, city and county government, as well as hospitals and schools combined with the private equity to fund the Gigabit Squared project.
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