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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mayor Murray: Do Right By Seattle Internet Users

Posted by on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Brett Hamil nails it in his latest vlog:

The mayor's office replied on Twitter that it's "looking at municipal broadband as a solution" and recently "allocated staff in our office who's [sic] only job is working on this issue."

As Goldy reported in January, Seattle City Light is replacing 410,000 manually read power meters across the city with digital "smart readers" starting next year. If the political will is there, City Light could wire these meters using fiber optic cable, "offering speeds 10 to 20 times faster than current top offerings—plus voice and TV—at a much more affordable price."

"Any word on tying municipal broadband fiber optic to City Light's smart meter installation in 2015? If not, why not?" Hamil asked mayor's office in response.

No answer yet.

 

Comments (27) RSS

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1

Sprint Spark

LTE wireless broadband

120Mpbs to 180Mpbs

Rolling out now ...

http://faster.sprint.com/2014/04/29/spri…

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM · Report this
2
This just makes me miss goldy
Posted by wxPDX on May 22, 2014 at 11:10 AM · Report this
3
Is there anything, anything at all, the child Herz doesn't think government ought to provide?

My bad. I just remembered. Streaming the last two seasons of your favorite pirated tv program is a constitutionally protected first amendment right. Sorry.
Posted by Seattleblues on May 22, 2014 at 11:19 AM · Report this
fletc3her 4
I think Seattle should absolutely be in the Internet utility business. At this point Internet access is more critical than the telephone for most families. For many businesses losing the Internet is as disruptive as losing power. It should be treated as a utility so it makes perfect sense for Seattle City Light to provide the default access.

The private market can go above and beyond if they want to lure customers away from the utility.
Posted by fletc3her on May 22, 2014 at 11:25 AM · Report this
MrBaker 5
I got the same reply from the mayor's office back in January when I asked them to look at the 2009 report on Fiber To The Premises.

The mayor announced a reshuffle on May 8th: Tina "Podlodowski will return to the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Innovation to focus on developing new policy options for public broadband in the city."

How about you find a journalist to contact Tina.

@2, Goldy would talk about it, get an "idea" as if he had an original thought, and then would run off into the weeds.
Posted by MrBaker http://manywordsforrain.blogspot.com/ on May 22, 2014 at 11:27 AM · Report this
fletc3her 6
@1 The page you link advertises 60 Mbps and only locally in Tacoma. I'm wary of Sprint because I gave them a shot a couple years ago and coverage was abysmal in my area, but if I were nearer Tacoma I'd definitely keep an eye on this option. I've found a Verizon Jetpack at a max of 12Mbps very usable for remote access, but I wouldn't rely on it at my house.
Posted by fletc3her on May 22, 2014 at 11:32 AM · Report this
7
@1

LTE isn't a viable solution. Wireless bandwidth is limited. For every person using it, the speed goes down. This is a problem with the laws of physics

Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
brandon 8
Municipal Broadband YES! But it better be gigabit or don't even bother. The whole point is to bring next-generation speed for the internet of the future. I am worried they are going to use the implosion of gigabit seattle to scale things back and only offer 100mbps or some shit.
Posted by brandon on May 22, 2014 at 11:56 AM · Report this
9
@brandon

What exactly are you doing that you need gigabit? Do you need to five 4k movies at the same time? There's almost no reason I can think of where an individual or household would need more than 100MBps. That is more than enough for a house to stream all of it's video and still download and use the internet normally. And you're never going to find a source that can saturate that speed of connection. Netflix is going to struggle to send you 20MBps much less 100.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
COMTE 10
@3:

Why shouldn't Internet connectivity, the Interstate Highway System of the 21st Century, be provided TO citizens BY the government FOR which they pay? Why should this be treated any differently than any other public utility such as water, electricity, gas, sewers, garbage & recycling collection? I know people like you have constant wet-dreams over the idea of privatizing literally everything because - CAPITALISM!, but seriously, if the public is already making the investment via SCL and it can be accomplished at a reasonable price resulting in faster service at lower cost to the taxpayer, then what's your beef?

Or is it just that you own a lot of stock in Comcast or Time-Warner?
Posted by COMTE on May 22, 2014 at 12:09 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 11
@9 That's how things are now for residential use. You'll notice Brandon is concerned about the future, and that you failed to address the needs of businesses. Data use continues to grow. We shouldn't build infrastructure based on current usage, when we can easily do better (as Google has proven in a few cities). Besides, what's wrong with blazingly fast speeds?
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on May 22, 2014 at 12:25 PM · Report this
12
Goldy is dreaming if he believed that smart meters generated enough transmitted data to make fiber sound remotely reasonable. They could be served by dialup modem type lines. Also, I'm not aware of any smart meter that actually incorporate the fiber optic transmission.

Now, if you wanted to argue for fiber to the node I think you could make a very good case for that to be a City Light provision and whatever Murray's Gigabit plan is actually following that up with fiber to the premises, I think you'd have a valid pathway to progress on getting this done.
Posted by ChefJoe on May 22, 2014 at 12:32 PM · Report this
brandon 13
@11 Thanks, took the words out of my mouth.

It's not just about 4k Netflix. It's about the next "Big Thing" on the net that we can't imagine but requires a lot more bandwidth then our current infrastructure can handle. But a good right-now example is Google Drive/Dropbox and things like Carbonite: Right now it takes forever to upload large amounts of data to them. Imagine being able to do offsite backup of your entire computer in a matter of hours instead of days, weeks, or even months. You could also store large video files in the cloud, eliminating the need for convoluted NAS devices.
Posted by brandon on May 22, 2014 at 12:37 PM · Report this
14
@10

Do you understand how fiber infrastructure works? When you lay fiber you're running glass cables from point A to B. At point A a device takes the electrical impulses and fires a laser down the glass to point B. At point B, a second device sees the laser pulses, and turns it back into electrical impulses. A single strand of fiber 9 microns thick can easily send 10TBps. All you need to do is change the box at each end. The infrastructure and expensive parts of the roll out are the actual cables you are laying and burying. They can remain unchanged forever. Need more bandwidth, just buy a new box. That's how come a company can go from an OC-3 (155MBps) to an OC-192 (10GBps) without running new cables. Just call up your ISP and they'll send a guy out to install the new box. Simple as that.

As for bandwidth. There is a limit to how much data we'll ever need to push. Video is about the most data intense application we have. The bitrate for 4K video is 20MBps. That's not going up. A 4K video 100 years from now will still only require 20MBps to send (actually probably less as the processing power grows, you can do more CPU intensive compression techniques so that the bitrate is lower). A 4K video is already at the limits of what you can see. With a 100MBps you can watch five of them concurrently.

Other than for a corporate customer, 100MBps that is guaranteed at that speed with a low latency will be more than enough bandwidth for the foreseeable future. The latency is actually much more of a problem than the bandwidth at that point.

For corporations that might have 100's of users on a connection, 100MBps is not enough. But it's trivial to add more and doesn't change the infrastructure at all.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Steven Bradford 15
@12 is funny. I guess it's just too embarassing to be this late to a party Tacoma started 15 years ago.

Just call it a streetcar, and everyone will get on board and slather it with love. Tell the Times it will also get rid of the estate tax.
Posted by Steven Bradford http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ on May 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM · Report this
JonnoN 16
@1 are you a liar, or just don't read the links you post?

At least they listed Tacoma twice...
Posted by JonnoN http://www.backnine.org/ on May 22, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Report this
17
@13

You can upload a terrabyte of data in 3 hours at 100MBps. With the way incremental backups work, 100MBps would already meet the needs of almost everyone but the most intense users. 100MBps is fast enough to upload your 4K videos in the cloud in real time. Some of the early SSD's can't even write data that fast. At 100MBps you could conceivably put all of your data in the cloud and use it as the HD. The problem is latency at that point not speed.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 12:47 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 18
Arb, if it's such a simple process, why are you against it? Also, would you not consider those boxes to be part of the infrastructure?
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on May 22, 2014 at 1:13 PM · Report this
19
@18, Not it's not part of the infrastructure the same way that your cable modem isn't part of the cable infrastructure. It plugs in to the infrastructure.

I'm against it because it adds upfront costs, and doesn't make it worth it. Why spend the extra money to move to 1GBps (and spend A LOT on backbone infrastructure to meet that demand) when you can satisfy 99% of the people with 100MBps?

Most people have 100MBps wired networks in their home. So they can't even take advantage of the higher speeds. And if you're on wifi you definitely won't see a difference going from 100MBps to 1GBps.

If there is a user out there that needs it, they can pay more for it. But there's no need to make that standard.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 1:25 PM · Report this
20
So do you give more credit for McGinn for raising an issue and then failing utterly to implement as he failed utterly on every front. Or do you give more credit for Murray for being a bit cautious on the question?
Posted by Former City Hall Staffer on May 22, 2014 at 1:34 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 21
The box is an installed, semi-permanent piece, a resource deployed, maintained, and otherwise handled by a utility company that is part of and necessary to its services, yes? That sounds like infrastructure to me.

Anyway, what is the cost to the utility of deploying gigabit boxes (as standard, and thus scaled) versus 100mbps boxes? If it isn't significant, why do you care?
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on May 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM · Report this
22
@5', exactly. Only problem is, Murray has hidden the high priced, one issue Podlowdowski away ever since she "mysteriously" took a "leave" on the heels of a bunch of emerging SPD issues.
Posted by Yeah You on May 22, 2014 at 1:53 PM · Report this
23
@21

No, it's like my cable modem, or my router. It's something you could pick up from the company and install yourself. It's like going from DOCIS 2.0 to DOCIS 3.0. All you need to do is tell Comcast you have a DOCIS 3.0 modem and they can increase your speed.

The cost of the box isn't a trivial amount, but it would make a difference. The biggest cost would be in the internet backbone. Whoever runs the ISP is going to have to buy more OC-192 lines to start connecting to the backbone providers. For someone like Google this is easy, they already have tons of high speed interconnects to all of the backbone providers. Plus, much of the internet you seek out originates from Google's own networks they can serve up the content easily. In a municipal ISP, nearly all the data would be originating from some other network. To guarantee 1GBps speeds they'd basically need one OC-192 for every 10 customers (well, not really because not everyone is likely to saturate the connection all at once, but I'm trying to make a simple example). Otherwise they could advertise 1GBps, but never actually deliver it. Just go price out a OC-192 and then you'll see that it quickly doesn't make sense to deliver those speeds to the home, especially not as the default. Once the fiber is there, you can deploy 1GBps where needed and the customer is willing to pay for it.

But I would advise anyone against paying extra for more. I'm not sure I could even get the most out of a 100MBps connection, and I'm a heavy user. Like I've said before. Once you get to these speeds latency is much more important than speed. I'd rather have a 25MBps connection with 5ms latency than a 1GBps connection with 50ms latency.
Posted by arbeck http://www.facebook.com/arbeck on May 22, 2014 at 2:07 PM · Report this
ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ 24
@3: Why are you against government supporting innovations in private industry? Public dollars build roads so that shopping districts are accessible and industrial parks can efficiently receive and distribute freight. Public dollars maintain the electrical grid so that businesses (and homes) can operate in the modern era. Is there some reason public dollars shouldn't encourage the rapid exchange of data, allowing research and commerce to proceed with unheard-of efficiency?
Posted by ɥsɐןɯouǝʌ on May 22, 2014 at 3:03 PM · Report this
25
#6

Yes I think they are being conservative. I've read industry articles saying 120Mbps and even an upgrade that will give it 180Mbps.

I've used Clear Wimax for years and years and it's only 6Mbps but it does Netflix ok.

@1

Yes, but real world, the biggest application by far these days is streaming video, specifically Netflix.

A typical Netflix is 3600MB (HD). So with 60Mpbs it will take about 9 minutes to download. So that means instead of hogging up a traditional connection for 2 hours while the Netflix downloads, you're doing it in very fast bursts and freeing up the channel for other people. And Netflix buffers it's movies so you doing really get more than a few minutes worth on your system which means it will very, very quickly burst, and free up the node quickly.

Everything else -- social media, gaming -- uses trivial amounts of bandwidth! So putting lots of users doing those things on a single antenna is no big at that speed.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 22, 2014 at 3:05 PM · Report this
Post_Mortem 26
Fair enough.
Posted by Post_Mortem http://pointlessman.blogspot.com/ on May 22, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
COMTE 27
@14:

I think you meant that for someone else (@9 perhaps?), as I didn't address the bandwidth issue in my comment.
Posted by COMTE on May 22, 2014 at 4:35 PM · Report this

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