What does Mount Vernon have that Snohomish County (my county) and most other counties do not?
Internet speeds of 1 gigabite up and down for only $70 per month. Mount Vernon has set up a city utility company which delivers fiber optic speeds to businesses and homes.
One Gig fiber optic connection is an enormous stimulus to high-tech business. Companies all over the country are relocating to those few cities which make fiber optic speeds available.
One of those cities is Mount Vernon Washington. Another is Chattanooga.
Current private monopoly internet providers will no doubt put up stiff opposition, as they have done in other areas.
Kansas isn’t the only place where cable companies have thrown up barriers to publicly funded fiber optic networks. Colorado, for instance, has a law on the books that requires cities to pass a referendum if they want to start building a municipal network. The cable industry has campaigned against such ballot measures there in the past. In Seattle, cable companies lobbied to defeat mayor Mike McGinn, who was an advocate for public fiber.
However, the county holds the trump card. It can establish a public utility. The job of setting up a county fiber optic internet might best be assigned to the Snohomish County PUD.
Comcast, Frontier, and other internet providers would still be part of the picture. As is the case in Mount Vernon, the new internet system would be a common carrier, meaning that current providers will still be welcome to provide service. The difference is that they would have to compete with other providers.
Fiber optic internet is not just a convenience, not just a better way to surf the web and watch HD video. It is not just a tool that will make gamers overjoyed. Fiber optic speeds offer big advantages to many high tech companies. With a gig of speed, companies sharing large files are relocating to Mount Vernon, Chattanooga, Wilson NC, and Lafayette LA. In Mount Vernon a company can buy one gig down and up for $70 per month. High speeds enhance voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP), video-on-demand (VOD), interactive video, medical imaging, Application Service Provider (ASP) services, cloud computing, and server farm growth.
A Seattle company relocated to Mount Vernon because of its fast internet:
A fiber connection prompted Eric Blank to move his 20-employee information security firm, Blank Law and Technology, from Seattle 61 miles north to Mount Vernon, Wash., which built its own fiber network. He pays $250 a month for the connection, versus the $985 a month he paid in Seattle for vastly slower service.
“We investigate computer malfeasance and have to sift through terabytes of data for a single case,” Mr. Blank said. “The fiber connection is the only reason we are in Mount Vernon and the customer service isn’t bad because all you have to do is walk down the street and knock on the door at City Hall.”
A fiber optic utility for Snohomish County would be a huge business magnet.
Compare what Snohomish County currently offers. Comcast, for example, offers starter business class cable internet for $70 per month, and it provides an internet connection which stalls when the neighborhood kids get home and start downloading music. You you can buy the following speeds from Comcast:
18 megabytes down and 3 megabytes up for $70 per month
50 megabytes down and 10 megabytes up for $110 per month.
75 megabytes up and 15 megabytes down for $150, per month.
100 megabytes down and 20 megs up for $200 per month.
Compare Mount Vernon and the other cities mentioned. They can deliver 1 gigabyte down and 1 gigabite up for $70 per month!!!!!! (I rarely use exclamation marks.)
If South Korea can provide all-you-can-eat fiber optic internet for $25 per month, we can do something similar here.
And if we have fiber optic, I would assume that the wars over internet neutrality will become moot.