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Seattle & San Francisco Race to Municipal Fiber Investments Covered by Telecompetitor

| Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Oct 20, 2017 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

In the News: Christopher Mitchell

October 20, 2017

Media Outlet: Telecompetitor

Ideas are bubbling up in two major West Coast cities to invest in a municipal fiber network, researchers have been covering these ideas for years now and Telecompetitor’s Joan Engebretson covered them in detail.

For her story, Engebretson spoke to ILSR’s director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative Christopher Mitchell about these rumblings and about how the cities could intelligently move forward.

Here’s Christopher’s contribution:

Google and other network operators began deploying gigabit services when cities began relaxing permitting procedures and, importantly, eliminating or relaxing requirements for networks to be deployed citywide. Cities now seem to be questioning the wisdom of allowing operators to cherry pick the neighborhoods in which they deploy gigabit services. And the revelation that Google may not roll out gigabit throughout Kansas City as originally planned could drive cities to rethink those policies.

“Universal access is a major factor” in why cities may rethink their broadband strategies, as is the desire to get better pricing, said Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband network for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, in an interview with Telecompetitor.

He added, though, that high tech hub cities such as San Francisco and Seattle may have another motive as well.

“They’re trying to figure out how to be really cutting edge,” Mitchell said. These cities, he said, are noting a “gap between those who have OK cable service and those who have gigabit service.”

Read the full story here.