Capitol Hill, First Hill, CD neighborhoods — and apartment buildings — part of first wave of new Seattle gigabit broadband service

9126432313_9054ce1660_bThe plan for laying a fat pipe to much of Capitol Hill and the Central District is a gigabit or two closer to fruition.

Gigabit Squared Seattle is building a high-speed fiber network to 14 areas of the city and said Monday its pipeline of broadband goodness will be ready to flow to the first service areas in Capitol Hill, the Central District and near UW by early 2014:

Gigabit Squared’s simplified fiber network pricing plans for Seattle will be structured as follows:

  1. Installation Charge:  Installation charges will be waived for customers signing a one-year contract for 100 Mbps service or greater.  Otherwise, a $350 installation fee is required.
  2. Service Plan Options:

Plan A:

  • 5 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload: No charge for 60 months
  • 5/1 Mbps services are transferrable to new renters or owners
  • After 60 months renters or owners can convert to a 10 Mbps download/10 Mbps upload service plan for only $10 per month

Plan B:

  • 100 Mbps download/100 Mbps upload for $45 per month
  • No installation charge with one- year contract

Plan C:

  • 1000 download/1000 upload Mbps for $80 per month

  • No installation charge with one-year contract

The company says it will announce a sign-up “process” next month. The plan is for all 14 service areas reaching more than 100,000 customers to be online by the end of 2014. The company has said it intends to eventually offer its services across all of Seattle through the combination of public and private fiber optic cables already available in the city.

To provide its service to subscribers in apartments and multifamily housing — the kind of housing that most people in its initial Capitol Hill roll-out area live — Gigabit is going wireless:

To provide initial coverage beyond the 12 demonstration neighborhoods (ed note: since updated to 14), Gigabit Seattle intends to build a dedicated gigabit broadband wireless umbrella to cover Seattle providing point-to-point radio access up to one gigabit per second. This will be achieved by placing fiber transmitters on top of 38 buildings across Seattle. These transmitters can beam fiber internet to multifamily housing and offices across Seattle, even those outside the twelve demonstration neighborhoods, as long as they are in a line of sight. Internet service would be delivered to individual units within a building through existing wiring. This wireless coverage can provide network and Internet services to customers that do not have immediate access to fiber in the city.

The pricing for a wired connection, however, might not be quite as renter-friendly — note the $350 installation fee for the fastest service for any customer unwilling to commit to a one-year contract. We’re told there is “a plan” for multifamily housing. We’ll update when we hear more.

The partnership between the city and D.C.-based Gigabit will likely put pressure on services and prices offered by established providers in the area like Comcast, Century Link and Wave. You can let us know what you’re currently paying for broadband service in comments.

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25 thoughts on “Capitol Hill, First Hill, CD neighborhoods — and apartment buildings — part of first wave of new Seattle gigabit broadband service

  1. This is confusing to me. Will they be able to hardwire existing condo buildings or will those in apartments/condos only be able to access the service wirelessly? The article seems to imply both.

    • Alan: It sounds like the apartment BUILDING would connect wirelessly, not the individual units. Ie: the building would need a transmitter on the roof, which would then plug into whatever existing wired system is in the building. I don’t think there are “normal” (ie: wifi) wireless networking technologies that support speeds this high.

  2. Yes, would like to know how the multi-tenant buildings will be handled. Will need to bring this up on our next condo board meeting. Can’t use existing wiring as that is hooked into the Comcast system, so likely will have to run new wiring. Exciting to get such fast speeds and for relatively cheap if it’s stable. Looking forward to dumping Comcast, personally.

    • If the building is wired for Ethernet then it would be up to the building manager to decide if they want to allow patching individual tenants to particular providers. If the building is only wired for coax then that’s a different story. I suppose Seattle Gigabit could emulate DOCSYS in the wiring closet but that sounds unrealistic.

  3. So is there a waiting list people can get on? I had to temporarily give up my Internet (I use my phone), due to some life choices that will eventually pay off. So I’m VERY interested In this !!!

  4. Getting gouged by Comcast – Internet only $75/month. Broadwave (cheaper and nicer company) doesn’t service my building. :'(

    • I’ve gotten my Comcast down to $68.27 by eliminating TV completely and buying my own modem, but that seems to be the bottom.

    • That’s your own fault. CenturyLink is $30/mo for the first 6 months, $50/mo after, and if you stay for at least 12 months you can talk them into a 50% discount ($25/mo) for being a good customer. Those prices are based on the second service tier btw, so there’s also an even cheaper option ($40/mo IIRC?)

      And, I used to buy my own cable modem, but if you get a crappy one they won’t service it; if you get an expensive one then you have to factor that into the cost over time; and when you want a faster speed and discover that it requires a newer modem, you get to repeat that process all over again. I rent the modem now because I ended up *not* saving money.

  5. II pay 55 per months for up to 10 mbs, but it never comes close. I would gladly welcome a competitor and would even spend sign the one year contract if they could actually deliver the speed they are promising.

  6. Just switched to Frontier in Edmonds. 35MB upload and download fiber optic speeds for $49.99/mo with no contract, no installation fees, no cancellation fees, price-fixed for 2 years. They added a big box in my garage for it and bypassed Comcast’s interfaces so that the fiber comes right to my house. No more sharing bandwidth with others in my neighborhood.

  7. We have CondoInternet (.1 or 1 GB speeds) in our building. They transmit wirelessly to our building via a microwave transmitter/repeater that’s on our roof and then they’ve tied into the existing Cat5 in our building to get it to individual units. I don’t personally have it, but the people that do say they like it. I’d assume they’ll use similar technology for their wireless point to point since it’s significantly cheaper to install that than run fiber to each building.

  8. I pay $79.99 a month for a Comcast bundle. With the internet service I get DNS errors ALL the time. I mean, EVERYTIME I get on the net. The HD TV service frequently gets its audio out of sync. It seems to happen when Comcast injects a local commercial. Comcast is a mediocre service at premium prices. The internet service is by far the worst service I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to get Gigabit (I’m in the middle of the Hill.) but the Franchise Board needs to do something to provide GENUINE competition on the cables.

    • Instead of using Comcast’s DNS servers, use 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. These are Google Public DNS, they are optimized for speed, and they’ll never do anything malicious like redirect your web requests to any ad pages.

      (They may store statistics of your DNS requests, but then again, so does your ISP today!)

    • I would love the ability to get Comcast but in my area (15th south of Madison) the Monopoly Board (er, Franchise Board) has sold our souls to Millenium/Broadstripe/Wave/Whatever name they are going to pick next year. At least Comcast doesn’t rename itself every year to run away from bad reviews.

  9. I am paying $70 for Comcast too. That’s after I signed up for the TV bundle, which I don’t use, to knock the price down a little bit. Every few months, I call them to try to see if I can save some money. No complaints about the internet speed, just the price.

  10. If we can get Gigabit in our 20+ unit apt. building, we will all dump Comcast the next day. Comcast is the worst provider (in terms of connectivity, speed, and service) as well as the most expensive service we’ve ever had.

  11. Some clarification of this map might be nice. Is the bronze area the first area to come on, or is that the area of multi-unit bldgs served by wireless?
    Are all of the green-shaded areas coming on early 2014, or just the bronze-shaded area?

  12. Internet only, $82 per month. Bought a new modem (since I’m outside the orange area) which will cut it by $7 per month.

  13. Just try getting ahold of someone. We are in the nether zone slit just outside of orange. So I wrote and called them twice last week, no answer… even explained that I am familiar with projects like this having worked for CityNet years ago doing legal contracts etc….. for dark fiber installations….. anyway…. crickets.

  14. anybody who’s halfway good at networking could wire a building for a relatively small amount of money. Having seen people build cables with the same ease that I work a toaster, I’m already looking for somebody to come wire the apartment building I live in. If it can be done cheaply enough, it’d be a win for the folks in the building as well as the owner who could get a good quality of tenant

  15. I pay $45 per month for CL internet service. I get 7 down and .896 up. The connection speed is slow and inconsistent at best. I have no clue why they can’t just charge 19.99 per month for service that is so bad.

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