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Friday, January 10, 2014

The Fastest American Internet Is in the Middle of Nowhere Washington

Posted by on Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 8:16 AM

What all of this looks like?



Seattle has once again been foxed by those welfare Republicans in the east. WaPo:
The tiny town of Ephrata, Wash., is home to just 7,664 residents. It has six public schools, an Amtrak station and one tiny newspaper, the Grant County Journal. It also has the fastest broadband Internet in America.
That’s according to Net Index, a measure of Internet speed maintained by Ookla, a software and broadband testing company based in Seattle and Kalispell, Mont. The company’s software tests Internet download speeds across the country, and for the first half of last year, it found Ephrata’s average download speed of 85.5 megabits per second was far faster than anywhere else in the country.

I will look deeper into this story and try to find if indeed my fears have substance.

 

Comments (26) RSS

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Jessica 1
IIRC, Ephrata has a Microsoft server farm, and Moses Lake has hosted NASA training. You don't get that with shitty dial-up.
Posted by Jessica on January 10, 2014 at 8:32 AM · Report this
2
The Port of Quincy, in the town next door to Ephrata has a direct link to a Trans-Pacific Fiber Optic Cable. They also have cheap electricity. They have a boom in Quincy building server farms. Microsoft, Google Yahoo all have major servers there. I have seen the construction boom there, its pretty astounding when you consider what Quincy was ten years ago.

Its interesting because short term, it is an economic boom. Long term, all these servers will just have a couple of technicians and maybe a night watchman. But still this is a town that had nothing but agriculture a decade ago.
Posted by wl on January 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM · Report this
Kinison 3
And all they had to do was hire a company that wasn't grossly incompetent. When it comes to choosing companies in a bidding process, it shouldn't be a game of Name That Tune.
Posted by Kinison http://www.holgatehawks.com on January 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM · Report this
ryanayr 4
@2 - what he said. There's a TON of servers in E Wash. Data and server companies may supplant the Aluminum industry as the biggest industry operating next to huge BPA dams for cheap electricity.
Posted by ryanayr on January 10, 2014 at 8:56 AM · Report this
5
Instead of call centers in India, Microsoft just bought land to put one in Quincy:
http://www.portofquincy.org/news-and-med…
Posted by wl on January 10, 2014 at 8:58 AM · Report this
theophrastus 6
I will look deeper into this story and try find if indeed my fears have substance
which fears are these in particular? that huge corporations and their under-the-counter political employees are making decisions based not upon what will best serve the larger community but rather will better serve the bank accounts of the few? such is capitalism, it's certainly unjust and cruel, but as the tired saying goes, it's likely better than anything else.

anyway, there are advantages to having a relatively new infrastructure (network fiber etc) installed where there wasn't one previously over the (selfish) economy of replacing an old infrastructure where it was since nearly the beginning.
Posted by theophrastus on January 10, 2014 at 8:59 AM · Report this
DOUG. 7
Horse porn.
Posted by DOUG. http://www.dougsvotersguide.com on January 10, 2014 at 9:04 AM · Report this
8
I, for one, welcome our new Ephratian overlords.
Posted by RonK, Seattle on January 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM · Report this
9
I've got a place right smack dab in the middle of that dark blue blob and the only option available to me is CenturyLink DSL.
Posted by derpyderpington on January 10, 2014 at 9:24 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 10
I have a feeling that fewer people means fewer internet users clogging up the bandwidth, which might account for the speed. If you're someone who knows more about these things than I do, please tell me if I'm on the right track.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 10, 2014 at 9:27 AM · Report this
11
The big blue blob in E WA is probably an average. The small area around Quincy is superfast, but in Yakima your screwed.
Posted by wl on January 10, 2014 at 9:31 AM · Report this
rob! 12
@9 and others, you can go more granular on the speed search (if you have the bandwidth to zoom in without wanting to tear your hair out):

http://www2.ntia.doc.gov/BTOPmap/

http://broadbandmap.gov/
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 10, 2014 at 9:47 AM · Report this
13
It helps that Grant County laid thousands of miles of fiber optic cable throughout the county back in the early 2000s.

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stori…

http://www.grantpud.org/your-pud/what-we…
Posted by KittyHampton on January 10, 2014 at 10:09 AM · Report this
Knat 14
I had the same assumption that Matt had. But then networking is mostly an abstract magic to me.

I'll have to ask if anyone back home has ever heard of Ookla. I've certainly never heard of it, but then I left Kalispell over a decade ago because it was such a one-horse town.
Posted by Knat on January 10, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 15
I use Ookla regularly to check my download/upload speed.
The odd thing is, it's routinely either faster than what I'm paying for (about 35Mbps when my ISP advertises 20Mbps) or it's totally dead in the water. Can't return the ping at all... if I can even connect to Ookla in the first place.
Very annoying.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 10, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
16
Could they be gaming the stats by running tests on their fast connections and not the slow ones? If you run speedtest.net on your cheaper DSL connection, you skew the stats downward even though faster rates are available.
Posted by rainbird on January 10, 2014 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 17
What everyone else said. Inexpensive land, inexpensive power (for massive cooling), and very inexpensive internet connectivity due to being sat on top of so much connectivity.

If you want to dig deeper, and make for an interesting story that would probably require a couple of you to take a field trip over there for interviews?

1. Find and talk to smart tech people who can break down for you (accurately) just how fast this fast is, for the facilities in a place like Quincy. The math will be astonishing.

2. Find and talk to smart tech people who can break down what sort of connectivity the neighbors of this capitalism in action have. While the datacenters get Warp 9.9 speeds, how fast is the guy in the small real estate office down the road going? The school? The stay at home down the block? It's a tiny town. Most tiny towns have pretty shitty internet.

3. Go and interview the real estate guy; the school staff; the stay at home moms. What do they think of this?

4. Combine #1 & #2 & #3 with the question, why doesn't everyone benefit? Why can't we, in our wealthy state, get everyone decent connectivity to the rest of the world?

Just a thought.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi http://twitter.com/joeszi on January 10, 2014 at 10:33 AM · Report this
18
Charles is going to "look deeper" into a tech story. That's even funnier than Goldy or Constant writing about technology.
Posted by bigyaz on January 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM · Report this
19
Joe Szilaguy said................"While the datacenters get Warp 9.9 speeds, how fast is the guy in the small real estate office down the road going? The school? The stay at home down the block? It's a tiny town. Most tiny towns have pretty shitty internet."

Grant County residents get 100mbps up and down for $39.95/month. Chelan, Douglas, and Pend O'Reille Counties offer the same fiber connection speeds for residents.

It amazes me how little people in western Washington know about eastern Washington. You guys really need to travel more and particularly read more about the state's history.

Here is a brief summary of fiber in eastern Washington. Pretty funny reading..................................................

You can get the same service Ephrata has in most of Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Pend O'reille Counties.

The real interesting story is the fight to string public fiber in those counties. All those counties consistently vote Republican in all elections. It is really hard to even find a Democrat in those counties.

The PUD's started stringing fiber to their owners. They provided electricity, water, and sewer services to county residents. To this they were going to add internet, phone, and cable to county residents.

At this point, the liberal Democrat Governor of the state of Washington attempted to stop the project. Claiming that the local governments had NO RIGHT to provide fiber services to their residents. I suspect it had more to do with campaign contributions to Locke and the Democrats from the telecommunication companies. After all, we do have the BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY! Governor Locke claimed that ONLY PRIVATE ENTERPRISE could offer those services in Washington state.

Now the Republicans in those counties replied that private enterprise refused to provide fiber services to those counties so they were going to do it themselves using the PUD's. The local PUD's belonged to county residents and they could do anything they wanted with THEIR government.

Fortunately, the Washington House was controlled by Republican's and the Speaker was from Douglas County. So it really was a fair fight between Democrats championing free enterprise and Republicans defending the will of the people to provide government services.

The compromise was that the PUD's could provide WHOLESALE but not RETAIL services to county residents. A business model that only works if you sell millions of dollars of surplus electricity to western Washington and Oregon. So effectively, Governor Locke killed municipal fiber in Washington state.

If the name Locke sounds familar it is because President Obama appointed him Commerce Secretary with the responsibility to spread fiber and broadband access across the United States. At least now you know why that program is a dismal failure.

It is a interesting story that played out over 15 years ago. And though Locke was successful in stopping public fiber for a couple of years those PUD's have been providing high speed fiber services for over a decade.

Really.....somebody needs to write a book about how public fiber came to central and eastern Washington. These are the same folks that got Grand Coulee Dam built and then followed up with a Public Utility Districts that have been an economic powerhouse for the region.

Where is Woody Guthrie to write the songs about public fiber??

More...
Posted by 509 on January 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM · Report this
20
Joe Szilaguy said................"While the datacenters get Warp 9.9 speeds, how fast is the guy in the small real estate office down the road going? The school? The stay at home down the block? It's a tiny town. Most tiny towns have pretty shitty internet."

Grant County residents get 100mbps up and down for $39.95/month. Chelan, Douglas, and Pend O'Reille Counties offer the same fiber connection speeds for residents.

It amazes me how little people in western Washington know about eastern Washington. You guys really need to travel more and particularly read more about the state's history.

Here is a brief summary of fiber in eastern Washington. Pretty funny reading..................................................

You can get the same service Ephrata has in most of Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Pend O'reille Counties.

The real interesting story is the fight to string public fiber in those counties. All those counties consistently vote Republican in all elections. It is really hard to even find a Democrat in those counties.

The PUD's started stringing fiber to their owners. They provided electricity, water, and sewer services to county residents. To this they were going to add internet, phone, and cable to county residents.

At this point, the liberal Democrat Governor of the state of Washington attempted to stop the project. Claiming that the local governments had NO RIGHT to provide fiber services to their residents. I suspect it had more to do with campaign contributions to Locke and the Democrats from the telecommunication companies. After all, we do have the BEST GOVERNMENT MONEY CAN BUY! Governor Locke claimed that ONLY PRIVATE ENTERPRISE could offer those services in Washington state.

Now the Republicans in those counties replied that private enterprise refused to provide fiber services to those counties so they were going to do it themselves using the PUD's. The local PUD's belonged to county residents and they could do anything they wanted with THEIR government.

Fortunately, the Washington House was controlled by Republican's and the Speaker was from Douglas County. So it really was a fair fight between Democrats championing free enterprise and Republicans defending the will of the people to provide government services.

The compromise was that the PUD's could provide WHOLESALE but not RETAIL services to county residents. A business model that only works if you sell millions of dollars of surplus electricity to western Washington and Oregon. So effectively, Governor Locke killed municipal fiber in Washington state.

If the name Locke sounds familar it is because President Obama appointed him Commerce Secretary with the responsibility to spread fiber and broadband access across the United States. At least now you know why that program is a dismal failure.

It is a interesting story that played out over 15 years ago. And though Locke was successful in stopping public fiber for a couple of years those PUD's have been providing high speed fiber services for over a decade.

Really.....somebody needs to write a book about how public fiber came to central and eastern Washington. These are the same folks that got Grand Coulee Dam built and then followed up with a Public Utility Districts that have been an economic powerhouse for the region.

Where is Woody Guthrie to write the songs about public fiber??

More...
Posted by 509 on January 10, 2014 at 11:08 AM · Report this
21
It just looks like the PUDs banded together and with help from the Federal Government were able to provide stellar service for rural areas that could benefit from Broadband.

http://louisagaylord.com/2013/08/02/over…
Posted by Saul77 on January 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM · Report this
22
There was NO help from the Federal or State Government.

As noted before the state government was fighting public fiber all the way.

It was funded through the local government Public Utility Districts. That is one thing about being a socialist Republican community. You pay your own way.

Posted by 509 on January 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM · Report this
rob! 23
@13, your second link is a page where all three of the underlined links are orphans. This page will get people where they need to go:

http://grantpud.org/customer-service/hig…
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 10, 2014 at 12:05 PM · Report this
24
Here are the some of the other PUBLIC fiber systems that were NOT stopped by Governor Locke.

http://www.chelanpud.org/fiber-optics.ht…

http://www.douglaspud.org/services/dccn

http://cnsfiber.net/CMS/42/pend-oreille-…
Posted by 509 on January 10, 2014 at 1:20 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 25
This is socialism at its finest, actually (public ownership of the means of production). Public utility districts with elected boards of commissioners that dammed the Columbia and strung electrical wires out to the hinterlands in the 20th century recognized that broadband was the electricity of the 21st century. Did you know that the City of Tacoma operates its own cable TV utility?
Posted by kk in seattle on January 10, 2014 at 4:27 PM · Report this
26
Alaska Airlines does most of their training at the Moses Lake airport. There is a lot of communication involved. Communication.....republicans wouldn't understand, most professional pilots interviewed said they voted for Democrats. I can prove it to you if you want. I don't really care, personally but I sure would hate to have a republican President.
Posted by longwayhome on January 10, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this

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