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UPTUN needs you to sign letter about needed broadband improvements

July 24th, 2013 at 2:44 pm | 33 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

Photo by Gavin. St. Ours via Creative Commons/Flickr.

Upping Technology for Underserved Neighborhoods (UPTUN) needs your help by signing a letter requesting changes that would make it easier for new broadband investments to come to Beacon Hill (and other neighborhoods), improving the speed and reliability of broadband service available to Beacon Hill neighbors.

Here is an appeal from UPTUN’s Robert Kangas, asking neighbors to sign a letter to the Seattle Department of Transportation. To sign the letter, post here with your name (real name, please) and your affiliation — for example, “John Doe (Beacon Hill resident)” or “Jane Doe (Owner, Doe’s Beacon Hill Widgets).”

Hey all, UPTUN’s going to be sending a letter to SDOT to try to force some change to the Director’s Rule that’s effectively blocking new broadband equipment from rolling out in Beacon Hill and the other underserved areas of Seattle. Most of us are stuck with the choice of a cable provider or nothing for high-speed internet. Well, we’re all tired of it. It’s time to take action.

Here’s the letter we’re sending to SDOT / the City of Seattle:
http://www.uptun.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/SDOT-letter-July-2013.pdf

We’re looking to get as many cosigners as possible before we stick copies of this in the mail on Saturday. Will you add your name to the list of supporters of this letter? The more supporters we get, the better the chances of a good, timely outcome. The time to act is now.

Will you put your name down? Will you get your fellow neighbors / nearby business owners to do so, as well? If you’re going to do so, please give me your name and what organization / business or part of the city you belong to. For example: Robert Kangas (UPTUN member) or Robert Kangas
(Beacon Hill resident).


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Pilot project could bring better broadband to Beacon Hill

June 3rd, 2013 at 9:14 pm | 4 Comments | Posted by admin

by Mira Latoszek

Slow and unreliable internet service is a problem for many Beacon Hillers even though we live minutes from downtown Seattle and the headquarters of companies like Amazon and Microsoft. According to UPTUN (Upping Technology for Underserved Neighbors – an advocacy group for reliable cable and high-speed Internet at an affordable cost), Seattle’s permitting process for installing new broadband cabinets is part of the problem.

The process is slower and more restrictive than that of other cities, causing hold-ups or cancellation of several broadband upgrade projects planned for 2012 and 2013. Robert Kangas, a Beacon Hill neighbor and member of UPTUN, released a presentation comparing Seattle’s process with that of other cities. It’s worth reading if you wonder why your house is still stuck with 1.5 Mbps DSL.

In February, Bruce Harrell sent a letter expressing support for a broadband pilot project on Beacon Hill to the North Beacon Hill Council. The project would allow CenturyLink to deploy two fiber-to-the-node sites and provide homes near the sites with 80-100 megabits/second broadband speed before the end of 2013. If successful, the approach could be followed in other parts of Beacon Hill and Seattle.

On Wednesday, June 5th at 2PM, the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee of the Seattle City Council will discuss the proposal. The discussion will take place in the City Council Chambers at Seattle City Hall. The Committee will discuss the issue in its next scheduled meeting on June 19th and vote on whether or not to support it. If the proposal is approved by the committee, it will then move forward for review and approval by the whole Council. The agenda for the meeting is available here.

In addition, there will be a presentation and discussion of the pilot project tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 4) at the North Beacon Hill Council meeting at 7 p.m. at the Beacon Hill Library. Representatives from CenturyLink will present the details of the pilot project and be available to answer questions. Details of the two areas for the pilot can be viewed in this document.

Much depends on the support of the community. A number of Beacon Hill residents will attend the meeting on Wednesday to testify in support of the pilot project, but more support is needed. Please show your support by attending the meeting if you are available or by sending an email to Bruce Harrell (bruce.harrell@seattle.gov) and other City Council members.


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City announces ‘ultra high-speed’ broadband demonstration project to include Beacon Hill

December 13th, 2012 at 5:52 pm | 12 Comments | Posted by Wendi Dunlap

This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.

This map shows the 12 neighborhoods in the planned Gigabit Seattle demonstration project, including part of North Beacon Hill. Click to see a larger copy of the map.

The City of Seattle today announced an agreement with broadband developer Gigabit Squared that plans to use the city’s excess fiber-optic capacity to provide an “ultra high-speed” fiber-to-the-home/business broadband network starting in Fall 2013 with demonstration projects in 12 Seattle neighborhoods, including portions of North Beacon Hill and other Southeast Seattle neighborhoods. An additional part of the project is the development of dedicated broadband wireless connections to multifamily housing and offices, and “next generation” mobile wireless Internet.

The City, the University of Washington, and Gigabit Squared have signed a memorandum of understanding and a letter of intent that allows Gigabit Squared to begin raising the capital needed for the first phase of the project.

That’s the good news. The bad news is: only a small part of Beacon Hill is included in the demonstration project (see this map or this map), so this will only improve things for a limited number of residents. However, Gigabit Seattle asks that you sign up on their website to show your interest in having the service so they can determine where to expand next.

Here’s how the city described the plan today in a press release:

1. Fiber to the home and business: Gigabit Seattle plans to build out a fiber-to-the-home/fiber-to-the-business (FTTH/FTTB) network to more than 50,000 households and businesses in 12 demonstration neighborhoods, connected together with the excess capacity that Gigabit Seattle will lease from the City’s own fiber network. Gigabit Seattle’s technology intends to offer gigabit speeds that are up to 1,000 times faster than the typical high-speed connection.

The initial 12 neighborhoods include: Area 1: the University of Washington’s West Campus District, Area 2: South Lake Union, Area 3: First Hill/Capitol Hill/Central Area, Area 4: the University of Washington’s Metropolitan Tract in downtown Seattle, Area 5: the University of Washington’s Family Housing at Sand Point, Area 6: Northgate, Area 7: Volunteer Park Area, Area 8: Beacon Hill and SODO Light Rail Station and Areas 9-12: Mount Baker, Columbia City, Othello, and Rainier Beach.

2. Dedicated gigabit to multifamily housing and offices: To provide initial coverage beyond the 12 demonstration neighborhoods, 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.

3. Next generation mobile wireless internet: Gigabit Seattle will provide next generation wireless cloud services in its 12 neighborhoods to provide customers with mobile access.

See more about today’s announcement at the Seattle Times, which points out that parts of the East Side already have fiber broadband, and residents of Ephrata in Grant County have “one of the world’s fastest broadband services” — for $45 per month. Some parts of Seattle already have access to this speed as well, including the South Lake Union neighborhood through CondoInternet, which charges $200 per month for their “up-to-gigabit-speed” service. Gigabit Seattle has yet to finalize the rates for their service.

According to the Gigabit Seattle website, “the more interest we have in your area, the higher priority your neighborhood will become.” They ask that all interested people sign up at their website to show interest in receiving this service to their neighborhoods.


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