Why Seattle Probably Won't Be Getting Tacoma-Level Broadband Anytime Soon

Hope you don't mind paying this gentleman $100 of your hard-earned money every month.
You may have missed it amid all the tunnel talk. But one of Mike McGinn's biggest campaign priorities was improving Seattle's internet infrastructure.

The city may be one of the nation's high-tech hot spots. (Amazon, Microsoft, et cetera.) But when it comes to providing locals with broadband, we've been embarrassingly outpaced by Tacoma.

In 1997, Seattle's "little brother" to the south established a network that provides cheaper cable TV and high-speed internet options. In short, they've created a public utility to compete with the ugly, private brutes (Qwest, Comcast, et cetera) who currently dominate the market.

Lesson: We should be more like them. And, good news, it looks like the Mayor-elect is trying to be.

Last week, McGinn took a trip down I-5 to talk with Tacoma politicians about how Seattle could go about installing its own publicly owned fiber-optic network.

A good start. But there's one, very large difference between the two cities.

According to the News Tribune, when Tacoma started its network the city was flush with cash. Seattle today? Not so much.

Which may be an issue considering it could cost as much as half a billion just to fund the project's first phase. That's money we almost certainly don't have. Or as Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma ever-so-delicately put it, "The financing is problematic."

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