In today’s economy, the internet has become a utility as necessary as electricity and water. It’s time we treated it that way. Fifteen percent of Seattle, mostly low-income residents, do not have access to home internet, and those who do are subject to monopoly pricing. The City must make equitable access to internet a priority so that a fast, affordable, modern connection is available to every child with a homework assignment, every worker looking for a job, and every entrepreneur starting a small business.
That’s why I support providing broadband as a public utility. A 2014 study has shown that a City-built, City-operated network could provide gigabit speeds at a cost that is one-third as much as private internet service providers charge for the same service. With local control over our internet infrastructure, we can work together to keep your data private, avoid arbitrary rate hikes, and make the benefits of the internet available to low-income communities and communities of color that are too often left behind by private providers.
Most importantly, an investment by the City in building out a modern, fiber-optic network is an investment in Seattle’s future competitiveness on the world stage. Not only would it set the stage for innovative businesses, but by providing access to high-quality technological infrastructure to all, we would help level the playing field and provide pathways to good jobs for our kids right here in Seattle.