SEATTLE – The information superhighway is about to get faster in the city of Seattle.
“What we’re trying to do is change the experience,” said Mark Ansboury, President of Gigabit Squared. The company plans to offer “Ultra High Speed Fiber Network” service by the first quarter of 2014. “Seattle is one of those cities that we feel is most ready.”
The network is backed by the City of Seattle and the University of Washington, which signed off on a deal last year to transfer 550 miles of “dead fiber” lines already installed in the city. Ansboury is paying the city an undisclosed sum to deliver service to residential homes.
He says GB2 will offer 1000 mbps, or about 50 times faster than a regular residential service. He says initial costs will be $80 a month and the installation fee will be waived if customers sign a year-long contract. In comparison, Comcast’s top offered service of 105 mbps is $114 a month. Century Link offers 5 mbps at $29.95 a month as well as 100 mbps starting at $119 per month.
Comcast has raised questions about whether consumers are truly ready or if they need the additional speed. In an Op-Ed published in the Philadelphia Inquirer last month, Comcast VP David Cohen wrote “the issue with such speed is really more about demand than supply”. He added, “Most website can’t deliver content as fast as current networks move, and most US Homes have routers that can’t support the speed already available in the home.”
Ansboury scoffs at the comment.
“If he got all the requests we’re getting, people with real applications, real needs, he would see there is a demand out there,” said Ansboury.
GB2 says 14 neighborhoods will get the new service. Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central Area, and the West Campus district will be the first neighborhoods to go online.
The price and rollout plan will be unveiled Monday.