jonathan's blog

McGinn: Seattle remains committed to citywide municipal fiber

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn says that his office is still committed to his campaign promise to build a fiber broadband network covering the entire city. He addressed the topic during a Q&A this week at The Stranger's Questionland:

We’ve put together an interdepartmental team to look at the issue and figure out what a high-level business plan for an advanced network might look like. The city has built and maintains a high speed, optic broadband network connecting schools, government facilities, and community institutions. The interdepartmental team’s business plan will guide the effort to expand broadband to businesses and homes. The plan will be completed in early 2011. Once the plan is finalized, the city will explore funding options and next steps.

McGinn's answer echoes the inclusion of broadband infrastructure as a component of the Seattle Jobs Plan recently released by the Office of Economic Development. This is encouraging news, at a time when the city is struggling financially and other major infrastructure projects (viaduct, bridge, waterfront) are demanding public attention and money.

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Note to station managers and online listeners of Listen Up! NW

Listen Up! Northwest: Electric Cars and Affluenza

This week we present an encore episode of Listen Up! Northwest.

Paul Scott is a co-founder of Plug-In-America and Chairperson of the Electrical Vehicle Association of California, and proud owner of a solar panel powered Toyota Rav 4. He never buys gas nor changes the oil. Hear what itâs like to go 63,000 miles in 6 years without a breakdown. (Sue Supriano, Steppin' Out of Babylon - Eugene, OR)

Dr. Bruce Alexander talks about how our culture's addiction to our decadent lifestyles is affecting our climate. (Alex Smith, Radio Ecoshock- Vancouver, BC)

Music by DJ B-Girl and Splinters.

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* general Listen Up! NW promo

Listen Up! NW is produced by Yuko Kodama at KBCS for Reclaim the Media, and distributed by the Northwest Community Radio Network.

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City of Edmonds moving ahead with municipal broadband plans. What's Seattle doing?

Good news from our neighbor to the north, Edmonds, WA:

Edmonds Council votes to pursue customers for its broadband business

The Edmonds City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday night to support efforts to pursue customers for the city’s 24 strands of fiber optic cable, which so far have been largely unused by anyone other than the city itself [...] Efforts so far to market [the city's] broadband have been stymied by a poor economy and a year-long delay while the city successfully went to court to secure the right to sell broadband services to private entities. [...]

While the city has spent $492,000 to activate the broadband network, it is saving approximately $97,000 annually because it doesn’t have to purchase fiber optic services, and is expected to recoup its investment by 2015.

Full article in MyEdmondsNews here, with useful background here.

This is great news for folks in Edmonds, who by and large already enjoy better Internet connectivity than most people in Seattle, with fiber broadband offered by Frontier (formerly Verizon); now there will be a locally, municipally owned alternative. The resulting competition should benefit customers in pricing and service.

Meanwhile, Seattle's broadband future remains mired in inertia, despite the city's technology office having a remarkably clear vision for pursuing a municipal fiber system of our own, and despite Mayor McGinn campaigning on the issue.

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Listen Up! Northwest: Transportation alternatives

This week we present an encore episode of Listen Up! Northwest.

Segments include: A deeply discounted public transit program offered by Metro Vancouver may be changing the transportation choices of students after they graduate. (Redeye Radio, CFRO, Vancouver, BC) A commitment to bicycling as a transportation alternative leads to some innovative businesses in Vancouver. (Jonathan Steinman, CJLY, Nelson, BC) Coping with bicycle and automobile collisions on city streets. (Mark Saldana, St Paul, MN)

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* general Listen Up! NW promo

Listen Up! NW is produced by Yuko Kodama at KBCS for Reclaim the Media, and distributed by the Northwest Community Radio Network.

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Twitter coverage of last week's FCC Internet hearing

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Listen Up! Northwest: Global Economics and Climate Change

This week we present an encore episode of Listen Up! Northwest, taking several looks at he impact of global economics on climate change.

Doctor David Suzuki of British Columbia compares the "eco" in ecology and economics. (Scott Powell, Amanda Bellerby and Jasmine Williams, If You Love This Planet)

A Greenpeace co-founder talks about what we can do to help stop climate change. (Alex Smith and Maggie Hughes, Radio Ecoshock Burnaby, BC)

Tzeporah Berman has strong roots in defending forests, but now she's taken her fight to climate change. (Alex Smith, Radio Ecoshock Burnaby, BC).

Music by Northwest artists, DJ B-girl, Aaron English and Byron Au Young.

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* general Listen Up! NW promo

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FCC announces three new noncommercial FM licenses for Washington and Oregon

This week, the FCC tentatively resolved three conflicts over who will have the rare opportunity to launch new, full-power noncommercial radio stations in the Northwest. Once finalized, the decision will allow two existing community radio stations in Washington to expand their service, and bring a new religious station to coastal Oregon.

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NW media justice and social justice organizations head to Detroit

For the next week, Detroit will be the epicenter for two major gatherings for progressive and social justice organizing: the twelfth Allied Media Conference and the second U.S. Social Forum. Washington State and the Northwest will be well-represented, with large delegations from urban and rural social justice organizations, labor unions, student groups and others. Reclaim the Media will be there with a delegation of Seattle-area activists and organizers from our Northwest MAG-Net coalition, including representatives from Reel Grrls, KBCS, Communities Against Rape and Abuse, Hidmo, Youth Media Institute, the Community Alliance for Global Justice and others. Follow the action on Twitter: #amc2010, #nwussf, #mediajustice.

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Reichert reverses position on net neutrality

Today, over 170 House Republicans sent FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski a letter urging the Commmission not to proceed with plans to protect an open Internet by reclassifying broadband as a "telecommunications service" rather than as a radically deregulated "information service." All three Washington State GOP representatives signed the letter, including Congressman Dave Reichert, who previously voted in support of net neutrality rules, saying that the Internet "should be an equal place" for people and companies. Reichert has apparently reversed his earlier opinion, and now stands with GOP leadership in support of open Internet opponents (and Reichert donors) AT&T, and Comcast.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey