CenturyLink could gain new leverage to expand Seattle broadband

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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) might be gaining the leverage it needs to expand its broadband footprint throughout Seattle if current Mayor Ed Murray is able to ease the telco's ability to place remote terminal (RT) cabinets on sidewalks near residential homes, reports The Seattle Times.

Although placing the RT cabinets closer to the homes can theoretically increase broadband speeds by shortening the copper loops that deliver ADSL2+ and VDSL2 services, it could incite a fight between the telco and residents.

Murray told The Seattle Times he will submit a proposal by the end of June to revise a city rule that requires service providers to get a homeowner's approval before installing RT cabinets on the public right of way between their homes.  

If his measure passes, CenturyLink will install about 349 cabinets in the city.

CenturyLink said that Seattle's RT placement rules have been an inhibitor to its broadband expansion projects in the city. Meg Andrews, a CenturyLink spokeswoman, said that it "canceled over 60 projects impacting over 21,000 households" following the passing of the rule in 2009.

Fights between city residents and service providers installing RT cabinets have become common in recent years. AT&T, for one, faced opposition from residents in both San Francisco and Wheaton, Ill.

The mayor's proposal and Seattle's overall broadband ambitions remain slightly controversial topics. CenturyLink made a number of donations to his campaign. In addition, he got $5,000 from the state broadband-providers association.

At the same time, Murray wants to seek out new broadband opportunities by creating a city-owned broadband network vs. the public-private Gigabit Seattle project his predecessor Mike McGinn pursued. In January, the city decided to pull the plug on that project.

"We should revisit the public option; we've got a lot of dark wire," he said.

For more:
- The Seattle Times has this article

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