Why Municipal Broadband?

Seattle is a high tech, entrepreneurial city, and it is an embarrassment that 15% of our city lacks access to home internet. By creating a new public internet utility, just as Seattle has done with City Light, we will be joining the network of over 750 communities who have invested in their own technological infrastructure and provided competition and affordability in a market that suffers from a lack of both.

For Seattle to remain one of the leaders of technological innovation, we need more competition and consumer options when it comes to broadband. The current market of private Internet service providers has failed to reach everyone in the city, leaving 93,000 people without home Internet access. The biggest hurdle is price, 80% of Seattle residents say the Internet is essential, but only 30% indicate it is affordable.
— Councilmember Rob Johnson, District 4

Municipal broadband would be democratically controlled and accountable to the public. As such, the utility would guarantee consumer protections like Network Neutrality, be forbidden from selling user's browsing data, and prevent the use of anti-consumer practices like data caps and secretive price increases.

A city-owned option could also drive down competitor prices and improve their level of service.

Municipal broadband means making the internet a public utility – city owned and city operated – because internet access, like electricity, water, and garbage pick-up, is an essential part of our daily life. The purpose of a public internet utility is to provide high-speed, affordable and equitable internet coverage to all Seattle neighborhoods, residents, and businesses. Municipal broadband can be a powerful lever against the digital divide that condemns people to the isolation and reduced economic opportunities experienced by many of our low-income, disabled, and people of color community members.
— Councilmember Kshama Sawant, District 3
[We need to] create a citywide municipal broadband utility, modeled after the success the city has had with Seattle City Light, so that all Seattle residents have fast, affordable internet to help businesses, help workers find job opportunities, and create access for all.
— Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Position 8