One of Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's big policy initiatives has been expanding the quality and quantity of high-speed Internet access throughout the city. A public-private partnership plans to offer higher speeds at lower prices than most broadband providers currently offer. And incumbent providers, particularly Comcast, have invested heavily in defeating McGinn in Tuesday's mayoral election. While Comcast denies there is any connection between McGinn's broadband policies and their donations, the company has given thousands of dollars to PACs that have, in turn, given heavily to anti-McGinn groups.
McGinn's major opponent, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), has committed to honoring the city's existing contracts for a 14-neighborhood pilot project, but has shown limited enthusiasm about McGinn's plans to expand the network in the future. So the election could determine whether Seattle residents have new options for high-speed broadband service, or will have to make do with the slower services already offered by incumbents like Comcast.
We've mentioned this story in passing, but the rest of our local media has so far been uninterested in questioning either Comcast's motives or Murray's intentions. But now that they've been scooped by the Washington Post, maybe they'll start paying attention?