Seattle’s Plans For Fast Fiber Internet Are On Pause (Or Buffering… Buffering… Buffering…)

Los Angeles might be planning to build a city-wide fiber network, but elsewhere on the West coast it looks like fiber plans are fizzling. A planned municipal fiber-optic network in Seattle is on pause after a deal with provider Gigabit Squared has died.

According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the mayor’s office confirmed this week that the city’s deal with Gigabit Squared has officially fallen through.

The city of Seattle had agreed to the high-profile deal with Gigabit Squared under the previous mayoral administration. However, Mayor Mike McGinn did not win his re-election campaign, and new Mayor Ed Murray assumed office on January 1. Comcast notably donated (via PACs) to Murray’s campaign, which some watchers read as a sign that Murray might not follow through on the Gigabit deal were he to win.

Mayor Murray, however, told the Business Journal that problems with the Gigabit deal “had developed before the election.” Back in December, GeekWire reported that the outgoing McGinn administration was concerned about Gigabit’s financing and worried the plan might collapse.

Gigabit was to spend $25 million investing in Seattle’s fiber-optic infrastructure to connect residents and businesses alike to super-fast, reliable internet services. As of the death of the deal, though, Gigabit owes the city $52,250 in unpaid bills to Seattle and their funding and financing plans have been called into question.

Mayor Murray said he was looking for other companies with a “more realistic financing mechanism” to take over the program and work with the city going forward.

Seattle’s fiber-network deal with Gigabit Squared is dead [Puget Sound Business Journal]