Thursday, April 24, 2008

Competitive Broadband

The Puget Sound Business Journal published a guest editorial by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Rep. John McCoy and Rep. Zack Hudgins on SB 6438, which will establish a statewide broadband deployment and adoption effort to connect every Washington community. Like the editorial writers, our column ignores wifi.

Studies are supportive of the economic development and educational benefits of broadband, and can be compared to the rural electrification efforts of decades ago. Comparisons are sometimes made of competitive broadband between the urban "haves" and the rural "have nots." As worthy a subject as that is and as laudable the efforts of our state legislators, that's not the focus of this item.

For even among urban, metro areas, the debate of which community has "true" broadband and "what is broadband speed" has been debated and is the subject of Congressional efforts reported earlier in this blog.

What is the focus of this blog is the truly unique competitive position the greater Tacoma metro enjoys with competitive broadband. Not in the sense of being competitive with other cities nor even with other downtowns. Many communities will brag of having competitive broadband for their communities when what they really have is a single service provider in a sharply defined downtown district.

Tacoma has city-wide, even utility service district-wide, competitive (with three separate providers) throughout the entire defined city and extending into the larger metro area. As good as any of the providers are - laying aside the preferences and experiences that individual users might have - Tacoma is a community that can brag about Click! Network, Comcast and Qwest, when others are pleased to brag about having only one of these providers, further limited to a small area.

Most Wired City? Are there any others to compare?

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