While smaller, often Rust Belt cities in America’s heartland have begun to embrace municipal broadband with hopes of turning around struggling economies, larger metropolises have been reluctant to take the plunge. But that may be changing: Baltimore is contemplating using existing infrastructure to build a city network, and now Seattle may approve limited municipal broadband.
Over the objections of Mayor Ed Murray, the Seattle city council is going ahead with a vote on a $5 million municipal broadband pilot project for the Beacon Hill neighborhood. According to The Stranger, city council member Kshama Sawant – who has been advocating for years for a municipal network for Beacon Hill, where internet speeds are “notoriously slow” – “has proposed a budget amendment to create [a neighborhood broadband] pilot project.”
Of course, a pilot project covering a single neighborhood in the largest city in the northwest won’t predict citywide success, but it’s a step in the right direction. More on this as the story develops.