Sunday, June 2, 2013

DC Has the Fastest, Most Under-Utilized Fiber Internet Network in the USA

Why can't the citizens of DC use DC's super-fast
fiber internet network? Image source.

As I occasionally do, I was fantasizing this afternoon about moving to Chattanooga, TN or Burlington, VT to start my own internet-based company - and the reason I fantasize about moving to those places is because they are the only cities in the country that offer affordable gigabit fiber-to-the-home internet connections, which is about 100x faster than my current crappy Comcast connection. (I realize Google Fiber offers the same speeds, but they've yet to offer it in a city/state that I'd consider moving to). In Burlington, a gigabit internet connection costs $150/month, while in Chattanooga, it costs a somewhat steep (but still manageable, as a business expense) $300/month.

The same service is simply not available in DC, at any price that is close to reasonable - I haven't been able to find prices online, but my best guess is that similar service from Comcast would likely cost at least several thousand dollars per month (maybe more than $10k/month), plus tens of thousands of dollars in connection fees.

I don't understand WHY gigabit fiber-to-the-home service isn't available in DC, however. I just learned that DC has the fastest fiber internet network of any city in the United States - a 100 gigabit backbone, running through most of the city.

But, as best as I can tell, not much seems to happen on this super-fast network, and it is only useable by a few select institutions and businesses.

Why can't we just hook up all DC houses to this awesome network? I'd gladly pay $70, $150, or even $300/month for gigabit internet to my house.

My DC and federal taxes helped pay for this network - why don't I get any use from it?

Is Mayor Gray in Comcast's back pocket? Is the DC government just short-sighted and incompetent?

It's time to regulate and build internet infrastructure the same way we do electricity and water - as public utilities, with universal service and super-fast speeds at affordable prices. Other cities have done it, and they didn't have the advantage of already sitting on the fastest municipal network in the USA.

Get with it, DC!


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