Seattle council member urges battle with Comcast, CenturyLink over muni broadband

A Socialist Party city council member is urging Seattle residents to form a "movement against" local cable franchise holders Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) in an effort to establish a municipal broadband network.

But a long-awaited study commissioned by the city has revealed that building such a network would be beyond the Emerald City's financial grasp.

Kshama Sawant, a former software engineer who was elected to the Seattle City Council as a socialist candidate in January 2014, published a blog post earlier this week urging that Internet service be rendered a public utility in Seattle via a new municipal broadband network.

"The purpose of a public Internet utility is to provide high-speed, affordable and equitable internet coverage to all Seattle neighborhoods, residents and businesses," she wrote. "Municipal broadband can be a powerful lever against the digital divide that condemns people to the isolation and reduced economic opportunities experienced by many of our low-income, disabled and people of color community members."

However, a study revealed that building such a network in Seattle would cost between $480 million to $650 million. This is less than previous projections, but still beyond the city's budgetary reach, according to Seattle officials.

For more:
- read Kshama Sawant's blog post
- read this GeekWire story

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