Seattle puts kibosh on its 1 Gbps FTTH plans with Gigabit Squared

Seattle's new Mayor Ed Murray said the city's proposed 1 Gbps-capable fiber to the home (FTTH) plan with Gigabit Squared is not moving forward, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal.

The end of this relationship should not be of any big surprise. In December, a report emerged that Gigabit Squared was struggling to get necessary financial backing to build the network.

A Gigabit Squared spokesman would not provide any details about the status of the project.

"Gigabit Squared appreciates Mayor McGinn's passion for, and support of, the FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) project in Seattle," the company said in a prepared statement. "We look forward to a dialogue regarding project possibilities with Mayor-elect (sic) Murray and his staff."

Gigabit Squared had some ambitious targets for the city.

It planned to spend $25 million to wire 14 neighborhoods by the end of 2014 with fiber-based services. Under the terms of the agreement it made with the city, Gigabit Squared would lease the city's dark fiber-optic network and connect underserved neighborhoods to its network.

Murray came under fire over the proposed network when allegations surfaced that a political action committee that supported his campaign accepted donations from Comcast, an outspoken critic and opponent of municipal fiber networks.

He told the Puget Sound Business Journal that campaign donations have no influence on his decisions and that he would look at using a public model for the fiber network.   

"It's a utility, in my mind," Murray said. "The city has done a very good job of providing affordable electric rates because we have a public utility. So I think there are a variety of models, including a hybrid model that might get that affordability."

Despite these obstacles, the city may have a savior in Wave Broadband, whose CEO Steve Weed said they would be willing to work with the city on other fiber broadband projects.

Wave acquired Seattle-based CondoInternet, which provides 1 Gbps fiber broadband to apartments and condominiums, in September 2013 and has expressed a desire to expand its service.

For more:
- Puget Sound Business Journal has this article

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