Digital discrimination: why Seattle needs citywide fiber broadband

Seattle Chief Information Officer Bill Schrier makes the economic case for why Seattle needs a robust fiber broadband network, in Glenn Fleishman's recent story on the issue over at PubliCola.

Schrier argues that symmetrical data transfer speeds of 100Mbps will enable expanded telecommuting, and improved efficiencies for multi-site businesses, educational institutions and public agencies. He also touts the potential uses of a citywide fiber network for public safety and energy applications. Schrier's preference is for the city not to have to build its own fiber network. However, noting that private providers such as Qwest, Broadstripe and Comcast are unlikely to invest in the kind of capacity that the city needs, he says that the city should try to build a local fiber network if telecoms won't.

In a followup article, Fleishman examines the very real digital divide that persists between the Central District/Beacon Hill cable franchise area and the rest of the city (improving affordable digital access in these neighborhoods has been a central concern of Reclaim the Media's Seattle Digital Justice Campaign).

Read the Schrier interview and Digital Discrimination at PubliCola.


The city has a legitimate concern about this issue. If there is no financial incentive for the telecom companies to go into certain areas of the city than the city itself must step up to the plate for the greater good. Broadband connection is very important for everyone in both the private and the public sector. Who else will do it?casino

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