It’s been years in the making, but super-speed Internet is finally making serious inroads into Seattle neighborhoods. Last week CenturyLink announced it would immediately start building out 1,000 megabit per second service — about 100 times faster than average U.S. residential Internet speeds — to homes in the Central District, Beacon Hill, Ballard, and West Seattle.
Unfortunately, Capitol Hill will have to wait, but Central District residents should start having services available by 2015.
A CenturyLink spokesperson said there was nothing inherently preventing neighborhoods like Capitol Hill from getting gigabit hookups, and CenturyLink was evaluating where to expand the service in Seattle. “We worked with closely with the city’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to make sure we were serving under served areas,” she said.
She said CenturyLink is not making public any maps of its Seattle gigabit coverage area due to competition in the market, but the buildout has already got underway. Most of the work will involve running aerial fibers to individual homes, so expect to see CenturyLink bucket trucks out and about over the next year.
CenturyLink, which has rolled out gigabit Internet in several other cities, is offering package deals starting at $80 a month plus fees. The cost jumps to $150 a month after one year.
The spokesperson said the Louisiana-based company had no timetable for when Central District residents could start purchasing gigabit service, but said the company would use direct mailing and media advisories to inform residents. In the meantime you can plug in your address here and sign up for email alerts.
Unlike Gigabit Squared’s failed plans to bring gigabit-to-the-block service to Seattle, CenturyLink is not leveraging any of the city’s “dark fiber” network for its buildout. “It’s an evolution of our product base, we’ve been building out gigabit for years,” the spokesperson said. CHS wrote about the Gigabit Squared plan last year.
Capitol Hill is not completely without fiber connectivity, although it’s fairly limited. CondoInternet has been offering gigabit capacity connections to apartment buildings and businesses since 2008. In addition to more than 50 buildings around Seattle, CondonIntenet currently offers gigabit connections in The Citizen, Trace Lofts, and Pine+Manor on Capitol Hill.
CenturyLink officials said its expansion efforts were in part thanks to Mayor Ed Murray’s promise to help bring more Internet competition to the Seattle market. Last week Murray announced that he would send legislation to City Council that would drop a regulatory rule (PDF) that prevents companies from investing in their own high-speed networks. Part of the rule requires that a majority of households approve the installation of utility cabinets near their homes. Oddly, most of CenturyLink’s buildout won’t require cabinets, but Murray’s measure could open up room for more fiber competition in the future.
Murray’s legislation will be taken up by the City Council in the coming weeks.