Who knew that Seattle had 500 route miles of dark fiber lying around? The University of Washington and the city’s mayor Mike McGinn last week announced a partnership aimed at leasing access to this fiber infrastructure to private companies. According to the mayor’s blog post:
The City of Seattle has over 500 miles of unused fiber optic cable. We want to fire it up to help our local businesses and creative people innovate. To do that, we’re inviting private service providers to lease the dark fiber. We hope to negotiate with companies for better service to nearby neighborhoods who have poor quality service right now.
The fiber appears to be centered on the UW campus, with potential service to neighborhoods and businesses. Possible targets would be in the University District, Eastlake, Cascade and South Lake Union.
Seems like an asset that could augment a variety of fiber operator’s networks. Seattle is of course a major hub, and all national competitive metro operators, such as Level 3, tw telecom, Cogent, and AboveNet, have assets in the city and certainly might consider expanding their footprint. Zayo has substantial assets in the state of Washington and will have more when it finishes buying 360Networks – they surely will be sniffing around. Integra Telecom’s recent surge in fiber activity suggests they might also. Even XO might, though they seem to be rather busy downsizing their workforce right now.
What I can’t figure out is why the city of Seattle would just be sitting on an asset like this when for years now municipal, state, and federal governments have been wracking their brains trying to figure out how to get more fiber access in the field.
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