City of Seattle releases municipal broadband feasibility report

The City of Seattle today released the City of Seattle Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study, a feasibility study originally commissioned in December 2014 as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s three-part broadband internet strategy.

Read the report here.

“Broadband internet service is a necessity in the 21st century but many Seattle residents don’t have equal access,” said Michael Mattmiller, Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This report builds on past studies and take a comprehensive look at whether the City could provide universal broadband service in today’s landscape that is affordable, competitive and equally accessible to everyone.”

In the study, the consultant examined the feasibility of a municipal broadband delivery model, focusing on:

  • Reviewing the financial feasibility of constructing and operating a municipal broadband network in Seattle;
  • Evaluating the services and applications that are most likely to be utilized over a high-capacity data network; and
  • Analyzing current market conditions to gauge consumer interest in a broadband service and the current offerings in the market place.

Less than estimated in previous studies, the report estimates a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build out to cost $480 – $665 million. To cover these costs, market penetration at monthly service charge of $75 would need to exceed 40 percent, higher than the take rates achieved by any other municipal broadband utility in the country.

Additional findings include:

  • The study found that the most feasible approach to constructing and operating a successful municipal broadband utility would be through a joint venture, where the City would work with a partner to create a service that allows the City to maintain its status as a technology leader and provide equity to the public.
  • The study looked into the impacts that service price changes, even as minimal as $5, would make on customer subscriber rate and city finances. With a smaller customer base or prices below a $75 monthly charge, financials deteriorate quickly and the City is exposed to significant potential losses. With a proposed service price increase of just $10, raising it to $85 per month, the study found customer interest fell significantly, also exposing the city to substantial risk.
  • Incumbents and competitors are moving into the market, offering high-speed and gigabit service to increasing number of customers.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents indicated that internet is an essential service, while 30 percent indicated that it is affordable.

Mayor Murray unveiled his three-step broadband approach in June 2014, which he has worked on continuously in that time to reduce regulatory barriers, explore public/private partnerships and examine municipal broadband. Read more here.

The City’s broadband study was performed by CTC Technology & Energy, an independent communications and engineering consulting firm with more than 25 years of experience. CTC was paid $180,000 to complete the study.

 

Business broadband survey

UPDATE: The date has been extended! The new deadline is March 31.

The City of Seattle is looking for broadband input from Seattle businesses.

TakeOurSurvey This survey asks about your current broadband services and whether they meet your needs; your satisfaction with the services that are currently available to business owners in Seattle; and what you believe the City’s role should be in bringing high-speed connectivity to residents and businesses in Seattle. The survey should take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The survey will close on March 31.

A residential internet, cable TV and telephone services paper survey was mailed to 3,770 households in January. Results from the residential and business surveys will be compiled and included in the City’s Broadband study, set to be completed in April.

Questions?

If you have any questions please contact the City of Seattle’s Office of Cable Communications at 206-684-8498.

 

Report highlights how Seattleites use technology

SEATTLE 5/23 At a launch event last night, the City of Seattle released new findings on technology access, adoption and interaction by Seattle residents. These findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups in multiple languages about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

Every four years the City of Seattle conducts community research to find out how Seattle residents are using technology.The technology adoption study findings were detailed at the interactive launch event, and are available online at www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators. The summary of findings and recommendations are available in multiple languages.

“The continued rise of smart phone and tablet use provides outstanding opportunities for government to reach more residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “The information from the focus groups will help us improve services and how we reach all communities. We will take action on improving access to web services by making them available in multiple languages.”

Since 2000, the City’s Community Technology Program has been collecting extensive and statistically valid data on residential use of cable TV, broadband adoption and uses (including health, work, education, finance and civic engagement), barriers to broadband adoption, use of online city services, and customer service needs. The measures used were based on goals for a technology-healthy city developed in collaboration with the City’s volunteer Technology Advisory Board.

Nine focus groups were also conducted to help understand the needs of communities who are often under-represented in the online and phone surveys or may be technologically-underserved.

Findings of the report include:

  • The report finds that 85 percent of Seattle residents have Internet at home and that more residents now own laptops than desktop computers.
  • Since 2009, Seattle has seen mobile phone ownership grow by 11 percent (80 to 89 percent), and has seen a 66 percent growth in the number of residents with smart phones (35 to 58 percent).
  • Broadband and cable TV prices continue to be of concern, but increasing broadband speed is important to those surveyed, with high interest in using higher bandwidth applications.
  • Cable subscribership has dropped 13 percent in the past four years as options for viewing video over the internet have grown.
  • Lower income residents have lower-speed broadband service, though a broad cross section of Seattle residents are interested in using higher speed internet services for activities like medical appointments or taking classes.
  • The study funds that there is still a significant gap in access to internet and the skills to use it, though the digital equity gap is more focused in skills and uses of the internet than on basic access.
  • Email was noted as the preferred way for residents to give their opinion to a community group or the City.
  • Education and age are the most significant factors differentiating technology access and adoption, but the data also shows important differences based on the income, ethnicity, and abilities of those surveyed.
  • The research also found that those with less education tend to make less use of the internet than users with more education.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators or contact communitytechnology@seattle.gov or 206-386-9759.

Now’s the time to sign up for low cost Internet!

Are you looking for low-cost Internet and computer options? With schools being back in session, many classes are requiring online research, access to email and the ability to log in to the Source (how else can you see whether your child is actually making it to school?!?), it is more than ever necessary for us to be online.

Visit our Home Internet & Computers page where you can get contact and general information about the 4 providers in Seattle offering low cost Internet.

In the meantime, if you need to get on the Internet, you can visit our Free Public Computer Access page for a computer lab near you, offering open lab hours for community members.

Thanks to 2,931 Seattle residents!

A big THANK YOU to more than 2,900 residents who completed our residential technology survey!

Over the past few months, 803 people completed our random phone survey and 2,128 people took the survey online.  Thank you for caring about Seattle’s technological future and taking the time to tell us how we can communicate more effectively throughout the city.

Your survey responses will help guide the City of Seattle’s work on digital equity, broadband services, public outreach and engagement, cable franchising, the Seattle Channel, and the City’s web and social media.  We also hope your responses will be useful to community groups and educators, and others planning to deliver information and applications to our diverse residents.

If you’d like to receive a note when the results come out, email us at communitytechnology@seattle.gov.

THANK YOU.

Volunteers sought for City of Seattle Technology Advisory Board

The City of Seattle is looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our tech advisory board. Applications are being taken through January 18th, 2013.   The Board and committees help guide city strategies and investments in our digital future. The ten member Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB – seattle.gov/cttab) advises the City on broadband deployment and adoption, mobile and web based services for Seattle.gov, social media, open data, online public engagement, the Seattle Channel, cable tv franchise agreements, Technology Matching Fund grants and efforts to close the digital divide.  There are currently two positions open on the Board, as well as opportunities to participate in project committees.  We strongly value broad experience and diverse participation.

See more about the technology advisory board at seattle.gov/cttab.  Please email any questions or apply by sending your resume and letter of interest to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov.

The City of Seattle is committed to promoting diversity in the city’s boards and commissions. Women, persons with disabilities, sexual and gender minorities, young persons, senior citizens, persons of color, and immigrants are encouraged to apply.  You must be a City of Seattle resident or work in Seattle.

Additional information:
Position requirements (consider before applying)

  • Applicants must:
    • either reside or work in Seattle
    • not be employed by the City of Seattle
    • not serve on more than one City of Seattle board or commission
    • attend monthly meetings (2nd Tuesday, 6-8 pm, generally held downtown at Seattle Municipal Tower)
    • participate in at least one CTTAB committee (times set according to committee members’ schedules)
  • Service to the board expected to begin February 2012
  • This is a two-year appointment, potentially renewable for one additional term
  • Time commitment (5-10 hours per month, depending upon activity)

Originally posted on Dec 6, 2012.

City & Community host Get Online Week Dec 3-8

Get Online logo (stoplight with "Get Online" for go light)Learn more about what families can do on the Internet and where to go for training.  This week, December 3rd-8th, twenty community and cultural centers in Seattle are hosting open houses, individual assistance, and workshops at computer learning centers. See the Get Online Week list of sites and activities or contact Vicky Yuki at 206-233-7877 or vicky.yuki@seattle.gov.  Drop by to learn more about using the Internet, online job resources, consumer information, homework help and a world of activities online.

More About Get Online Week and public computing centers:
Get Online Week is being offered by participating centers in partnership with the City of Seattle Department of Information Technology and the Seattle Public Library.

The only way some people have access to computers, the Internet or technology training is to use the services of nearby public computing centers and libraries. Even for those with computers or Internet devices, these centers also offer valuable training in how to find and use essential services and learning materials online. Many of the centers offer instruction in other languages or specialize in serving specific residents, such as youth, seniors, or the disabled community.

Get Online Week started in 2010 as a one-day event at 10 participating centers in Seattle’s central and south neighborhoods. Get Online Weeks are also held in Europe. This Community Technology education program is part of the City’s effort to ensure digital inclusion and foster broadband adoption.

Evergreen Apps Challenge to award $75,000 in prizes at Oct 1 event

Winners of the Evergreen Apps Challenge will be named on October 1, 2012, at Seattle City Hall. Mayor Mike McGinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine will kick off  the event with $75,000 in prizes  awarded for the best new civic apps, including two people’s choice awards. The people’s choice awards will be decided by those in attendance and everyone who registers gets a vote.

 “The intersection of technology and society inspire our storytelling at GeekWire, and this event combines these themes along with one that is close to my heart: doing well by doing good.  I can’t wait to see what the app developer community has created for this challenge,” said Rebecca Lovell of GeekWire, who is emceeing the awards ceremony.

Registration is free at http://bit.ly/UQkLvy. The event will be held Monday, October 1, in the Bertha Knight Landes Room, Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, in Seattle, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Music and light refreshments will be provided.

See entire announcement here: http://www.seattle.gov/news/detail.asp?ID=13122