Seattle’s effort to add municipal broadband is just government waste, Dori says

Nov 11, 2015, 12:45 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2015, 10:18 am
KIRO Radio's Dori Monson says the idea for Seattle to provide broadband as a utility is a redundant idea. (AP)

The Seattle City Council is deciding if the city should spend $5 million on a broadband pilot project that, if it’s deemed successful, would cost much more to expand.

Council members Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata, and Bruce Harrell are pushing for creating municipal broadband, despite the fact that the Mayor’s office opposed the idea, after discovering how much it would cost through a feasibility study.

“I can’t even say this without laughing,” KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson said.

If the pilot program is approved, the city would launch municipal broadband in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, GeekWire reports. If that goes well, the council members would like to see Seattle become a broadband provider for the entire city.

“And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Monson, why is the city responsible for paying for my broadband?”

Well don’t worry. Internet wouldn’t be free if Seattle approved city-wide broadband, at least for everyone. GeekWire reports that the city would need to charge $75 a month at a 43 percent “take rate” to break even, in order to pay back the debt used to build the network. If the city couldn’t break even, it would need to use money from its General Fund, which could reduce funding for police, fire, parks, and other services.

Dori said the idea is redundant. There are already private carriers with established networks that receive funding from private investors.

“This is another way to provide free stuff to half the population,” Dori said. The more people in elected positions can give out, the better it is for them, he added.

Dori noted that Tacoma is already providing municipal broadband. From his understanding, it is losing quite a bit of money.

“It’s fantastic!” he exclaimed. As are the bike stations in public libraries.

Dori Monson on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dori monsonTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 12 noon for The Dori Monson Show.

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Seattle’s effort to add municipal broadband is just government waste, Dori says