Gigabit Internet in Seattle – What Does it Mean for Small Businesses?

Centurylink is the first major telecommunications company planning to offer freaky-fast gigabit internet (they’re already hard at work in Ballard) and with several neighborhoods targeted for the service area, Seattle could soon have city-wide internet service that lives up to its increasingly tech-heavy economy.

The plan to bring gigabit internet to Seattle began with Mayor Ed Murray’s doubling-down on the importance of bringing affordable, high-speed internet after the city’s deal with Gigabit Squared fell through. The city has an existing franchise agreement with Comcast through January 2016, but a pseudo-loophole through the Department of Transportation means much of the red tape that held back other providers has been untangled.

Centurylink will begin offering the service (which is about 100x faster than the national average internet speed) in 2015 for the following areas: Ballard, West Seattle, Central District, and Beacon Hill.

Residents will be able to use the service without bandwidth caps, but businesses won’t be so lucky. Data caps will remain for business plans using the new gigabit service, which could curtail some tech-heavy companies who use a lot of bandwidth each month.

Interestingly, major tech companies in the Fremont area and South Lake Union (not naming any names, but you know) will be out of the service area unless they want to pony up for a dedicated connection. Seattle CTO Michael Mattmiller recently said that the aim of the expansion is to help boost startups and small businesses, so perhaps the larger firms will have to find their own way while the smaller guys can scoop up affordable connections.

The only thing we know for sure is we can’t wait for gigabit service to come to Queen Anne. Hurry up, already!

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