Broadband Initiative

Fiber Optic Cable

Internet access is the infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century. The internet, and access to the information and services it provides, is responsible for economic growth, job creation, education, and a better quality of life. But, the internet only creates value for those who have affordable access and the digital literacy skills to use that access effectively.

Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Study

The City released results of its Fiber-to-the-Premises Feasibility Studyoriginally commissioned in December 2014 as part of Mayor Ed Murray’s three-part broadband internet strategy.

The report estimates a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) build-out to cost $480-$665 million– less than previous years’ cost estimates for municipal broadband. The mayor and city are actively exploring various funding options which could make a publicly owned high-speed Internet utility a possibility, knowing that a subscriber-only funding model would be challenging as enrollment rates would need to exceed 40 percent of the broadband market at a subscriber cost of $75 per month to be financially viable over the longterm– no other municipal broadband utility in the country has reached enrollment rates at that level. Mayor Murray is committed to increasing competition so that high-speed Internet is affordable and available citywide on an equitable basis.

Find the full report here, and read the Washington Post’s coverage of the City’s ongoing efforts.

Mayor Murray’s Strategy

  • Reduce regulatory barriers: Cities are competing with one another to attract high-speed broadband opportunities. To make Seattle more welcoming to these opportunities, we must look at increasing access to city infrastructure and simplifying our permitting processes. Revisions to the SDOT Director’s Rule 2-2009 are a critical first step in reducing regulatory barriers. However, other regulations should also be reviewed.
  • Explore public/private partnerships: We should investigate ways to engage experienced commercial internet service providers while we look to provide opportunities for improved access and increased competition. The City can potentially leverage existing resources, such as its fiber optic network, to provide service.
  • Explore municipal broadband: While pursuing other options, the City should determine the feasibility of a city-operated fiber-to-the-premise municipal broadband solution that could bring high-speed access to Seattle households.

Broadband plan already yielding results

Last year, Mayor Murray sent legislation to City Council that brought more competition to the marketplace and more access to service – especially in neighborhoods that are currently underserved.

Murray’s legislation changed a regulatory barrier – the SDOT “director’s rule” – that has prevented companies from investing in their own high-speed fiber networks within the city.

“So much of our recent economic growth has been due to the success of high tech companies and start-ups that have chosen to make Seattle home,” said Murray. “Yet not all Seattleites are benefiting from our technology boom, and we know that some neighborhoods today lack adequate, competitive choices for broadband internet access. CenturyLink’s announcement to bring fiber internet access to tens of thousands of homes is an important first step in my broadband strategy, but there is more we can do as city to bring equal and affordable access to all.”

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90 comments
JennaWhitmore
JennaWhitmore

Love the idea of a fiber optic network in Seattle, but wonder when it will really happen? The latest news of Google Fiber firing their CEO and laying off 9 plus % of their employees isn't a good sign. Although we haven't been holding our breath here in seattle https://zobolt.com thinks its time for a change. 

alexistex
alexistex

I love this idea

“Yet not all Seattleites are benefiting from our technology boom, and we know that some neighborhoods today lack adequate, competitive choices for broadband internet access. CenturyLink’s announcement to bring fiber internet access to tens of thousands of homes is an important first step in my broadband strategy, but there is more we can do as city to bring equal and affordable access to all.” 

thank you for this information, you are amazing continue!

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krismeaney444
krismeaney444

Isnt this a tech city?? Why is it, that I live less than 5min from Downtown Seattle, literally a few blocks from the Financial District, in Belltown.... and the fastest internet I can get is 5Mbps from CenturyLink. I cannot get Comcast, not offered in my building. My only choice is CenturyLink, maybe Wave... But CenturyLink says they are offering 1GBit connection speeds now!!?!? WTF, how are they offering that, when I live in Downtown Seattle and I cannot get but the slowest Mbps speeds offered. Other customers are paying the same price for 20Mbps, literally the same price as my 5Mbps connection.... Which by the way, never gets more than 2.5Mbps when using CenturyLinks own speed test. This is pathetic, I cannot even stream HD from Netflix.... and I thought Seattle was a tech hub. How is it a tech city if it doesnt even offer HighSpeed internet???????????

ToddBoyle
ToddBoyle

@krismeaney444 Are you sure it's not your landlord, screwing you in order to get a bulk rate from the provider?  I've had that situation before.   That's why they call them "LORD".  They are the landlord of the property.  They can do anything they want, pretty much. 

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

The city doesn't seem to be concerned with areas that cannot get good access to broadband unfortunately.

JeraldBaillie
JeraldBaillie

We need PUBLIC broadband and City Light should run it.   Very tired of Comcast.   The other cable provider on QA has the same rates and even worse customer service.


The same logic for having public electricity, water, sewer applies to broadband.  Additionally, how will City Light get into "smart" electrical power without a broadband connection to every user.

mozb
mozb

@JeraldBaillie  agreed, this utility is a necessity to negotiate in the current world and most access is prohibitively expensive like myself, low income unemployable living with a disability - noteworthy: library access is too difficult as well.

mozb
mozb

the news this morning announced that municipal broadband sign up is open today. but I do not know what this means or what to do... please be clearer on the steps to take and how this differs from other services. thank you

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

@mozb Not sure what the news said to you, but they'd be the ones to be more clear about their topic. There is *no* sign up for a Seattle broadband service since the city has decided that it's not feasible based on their interpretation of the latest in a series of broadband feasibility reports.


There is currently a proposal to build a broadband "Pilot" project in the Beacon Hill area, but no vote has yet occurred. The vote should be taken later this week or next. You can read more about that and what you can do to prod the city forward here:


http://www.upgradeseattle.com/pilot_project

qwart
qwart

November 3, 2015

Dear Centurylink Customer Support

I am very disappointed and dissatisfied with Centurylink. I originally signed up in April of this year and was promised fiber optic Internet service to my house.

Last week, two sales people from Centurylink came to my residence and asked me if I wanted fiber optic Internet since it was now available. I told them that I had been waiting since April, and that fiber optic Internet was the reason I signed on with Centurylink. When I told them that I had Directv they told me they could not sell me the bundle with Prism TV and that I could call Centurylink directly and they would install the fiber to my home.

So last week, I chatted with Centurylink to get the fiber installed.
I ended up calling the Retention and Loyalty number and spoke with someone who identified her self as Terrisa. She told me she could start the process and that a tech person would be at my residence on November 2, this past monday.

Monday came and no tech arrived. I called back the Retention number to check on the problem. I was told that they had no record of my order or request. Terrisa apparently totally dropped my order.
I requested to have my fiber optic installed only to be told that I don't have it at my residence!!

Someone is uninformed or just lying!

Please look into my situation. I feel I'm being very patient, but right now I'm ready to cancel all services as I believe Centurylink has not upheld your end of the contract.

Please make this right
Sincerely
Quintin Woo

GarrettCobarr
GarrettCobarr

Just when you think you know what Comcast is up to, you don't. Do to cable cutter flight to broadband access to media such as Netflix, Amazon, etc and the decision by FCC to resume common carrier regulation authority, Comcast has come up with another ingenious plan to hobble broadband, introduce data caps, or as they like to refer to them, data plans.


Simply put, it is tiering by another name.


"Your next Comcast bill may be priced per gigabyte" - http://wthink.me/1M2n7i8

erinmorsli
erinmorsli

I just moved back to Seattle from Germany and can't believe the cost and service associated with Comcast. Internet is a necessity. My children are even expected to have internet at home to complete homework assignments through Seattle Public Schools. Working families are held hostage. This must be addressed. -

ToddBoyle
ToddBoyle

@erinmorsli Ask a neighbor for access to their hotspot. Although most people are more loyal to the legal constructs of this mass society we live in, there remains some numbers of people whose sense of affinity and loyalty remains the people around us.  

Each of us must resolve for ourselves this ethical tension between the social good (maximizing access to the Internet) and the doctrines of capitalism (that the Internet wouldn't exist without vast capital, centralized control and billing).    And it is not black and white. 

SeattleKiwi
SeattleKiwi

I was excited because CenturyLink recently installed gigabit fiber in my street.  I immediately signed up, switching from Comcast.  Although CL's sales dept. was moderately efficient, I had no-end of difficulty with diabolical customer service from CenturyLink.  Their billing dept is so bad it's something to behold.  I didn't think things could be much worse than Comcast, but CL is even worse.  After a few frustrating weeks, and duplicate accounts, etc. I switched back to the dreaded Comcast, prepared to pay an extra $27/month for the same connection speed.


Seattle deserves better than this duopoly - their (I guess) underpaid, under-resourced, and under-supported call center representatives seem to be annoyed by their customers and struggle with what they told me is a terrible computer system.  


In view of the scale of the disaster arising from last weekend's windstorm, Seattle City Light did a much better job of fixing things. 


I don't trust either CenturyLink or Comcast with vital infrastructure.

shontzj
shontzj

Seattle needs a city-owned high-speed Internet utility as much as we need utilities for water and electricity. And we need this in ALL neighborhoods, not just the "tech" clusters around South Lake Union where more money is concentrated.

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

@shontzj Now we need only to get mayor [Comcast] Murray to "get it" as well. Seems the mayor and his staff already had their minds made up long before the latest broadband "report" appeared [latest in a long line of feasibility reports].


Every mayor comes in thinking they'll make some change that will automagically alter the status quo here in Seattle. The problem is that this same attitude has been going on in Seattle for more than a decade. We need leadership that will step up and get it done.

max5555
max5555

Seattle has the slowest broadband services of any city I've ever lived.  Comcast is almost as slow as CenturyLink.  It seems if you work at home and need high speed internet, you need to move to another city.*

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

10 years on and another broadband report. Yet the city sits on its hands and does nothing. Current ISPs will continue to "cherry pick" those neighborhoods where they feel they will get the best bang for their buck. Good luck getting better service in the sites where you currently do not have good service.

evelyn valala
evelyn valala

I happened to be at the library when Mayor Comcast was giving a speech about the new library plan to provide internet access to library patrons. It was upsetting since the city plan to provide internet service, initiated by former Mayor McGinn, was stopped in its tracks when Mayor Comcast was elected. 


I checked out a SPL Hotspot. I think this library plan, which was not funded by the city, demonstrates that a huge infrastructure investment is not necessary. Only an understanding of the importance than everyone has the opportunity to the internet.




DavidKappel
DavidKappel

Hello Forum.

Concerning Broadband: Fiber-optic cable is currently hanging in front of my house in Gatewood, West Seattle. However, I have been unable to find out from-CenturyLink when  they will offer the service to our home. Also, Is CenturyLink currently the only option as a fiber-optic service provider?  - See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/broadband/#sthash.Nu7hKYCa.dpuf

ToddBoyle
ToddBoyle

All cities of any size have broadband from those lucky, well-placed companies who just happened to be there when the Internet came into existence. The Telcos with their absolutely superior lobby! and the TV Cable operators.  Cut, forward to 2014 only the cities with a 3rd broadband get decent pricing-- the Corporations gouge us so extremely even a government bureaucracy can do it cheaper. 

SelcukMarkOnat
SelcukMarkOnat

Why is this so complex? Get on with it, Murray! You're supposedlyt a liberal, and yet we're getting fleeced by Century LInk and Comcast, two right-wing orgs that donated max amounts to your campaign. GET GOING!

karenAperry
karenAperry

Thanks to CTTAB for hosting the discussion last night on municipal broadband. I am glad that the city is exploring all options to radically increase speeds, improve service and hopefully reduce costs!  It was a good discussion and great to see such broad community interest!  Thanks!  Karen A Perry

GarrettCobarr
GarrettCobarr

I am on the CTTAB-Broadband mailing list, Citizens' Telecommunications And Technology Advisory Board. Today we were notified that there will be a presentation tomorrow at the Seattle City Council Transportation Committee. Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 9:30 AM


Here's that: http://wthink.me/1x1QjmK


If you scroll down to Agenda Item 13 you will see that there is presentation by Angela Steel and Brian de Place of SDOT. "Relating to communication cabinets in public places; amending Sections 15.02.042, 15.32.010, 15.32.020, 15.32.130, 1 5.32.140, 15.91.002, and 15.91.016; and adding new Sections 15.32.200, 15.32.250, and 15.32.260 of the Seattle Municipal Code."


Here the presentation slide deck: http://wthink.me/ZaP5Yv


Quietly added to the agenda is the amended 'Director's Rule' ...


Here is that: http://wthink.me/1C5HYhZ


Unless I have read this wrong or there is another version floating around, input and control by the neighborhood and private property owners on the installation of telecommunication cabinets has been substantially reduced to the point of being almost eliminated.


Its unfortunate it is being handled in this manner. When these cabinets begin to arrive in front of private dwellings, especially single family homes, animosity and potential litigation will ensue.


It is my understanding that the home owner will be sent a letter 3 days in advance, so don't go on vacation!

robtfree
robtfree

ok..Mayor..lead the way into the future and get all our neighborhoods wired up!..smell the fed rules coming...and Moderator...stop double talking around this access issue...! ..just reiterating the known information is not a strategy.


TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

Oh ya, I totally get that. On the north end families have just shifted north to Shoreline. Seattle should just be embarrassed by that alone.

But still, the amount of poor folks living in even the Broadview neighborhood is quite large. Greenwood Ave North is lined with two and three story apartments. Nothing like SLU. It's nurses and bus drivers.

The constraining of jobs and infrastructure investment to downtown has done a great disservice to outlying neighborhoods over the years.

robtfree
robtfree

hi..in seattle 5 years or 50years ..depending where you lived most of that time, that you get the perspective im sharing. poor people especially of color do not or cant find housing in seattle..so over the years...ive watched and i've have been told by many of my friends ..they  moved out to kent, renton, des moines, etc..where the warehouse HUD apartment complexes are built. and they truely lack good isp out there. i lived in  High point 5 years, holly park one year and the rest on beacon hill...i watched the tech boom in Seattle and the city government bypass these neighborhoods...a lot of lip serve and PC talk...but it is not realized at the neighbor hood level.

rosechisholm
rosechisholm

@robtfree  I'm a grad student in Kentucky where two key cities.  Any updated comments on this issue that you could provide me with?

Marc Pease
Marc Pease

Public Private cooperation / partnerships for use of in-place dark fiber connections and bandwidth already exist , just look at the contractual agreements with King County's I-Net, the State's networks using both Comcast and CenturyLink. Don't let Verizon and their VIOS product go unnoticed either for wireless to landline connectivity in the public Rights of Ways either. A mapping of where facilities are currently , connections already in existence to local government facilities, telecom provider hubs and dark strands that are open for negotiation need to be part of the evaluation to optimize broadband development for the city of Seattle. 

TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

The city will be partnering with a few groups, and not likely going to develop its own information connectivity version of Seattle City Light, but it could, and maybe it should.

Those partnerships end at the edges of government, and governments assistance to commerce, but do not extend to private homes.

From that edge pint on the free market monopoly has worked very hard at cultivating monitary gains but not system upgrades and advancements that extend to every home in Seattle.

The cities 5-year-old study pointed this out. Not much has changed except the passage of time.

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

@TweetMrBaker 

As I've pointed out before, the city has been down this road before. For more than a decade, the city made the decision to install [dark] fiber and/or conduit every time construction called for road work (e.g. digging) for an eventual city wide network. The problem is that 10 years later, we have a lot of unused fiber in the city, but no plan in place on what to do with it - nor even any plan to discuss how to use it.


For me, I would NOT want to hand this infrastructure over to any city incumbents. We already know how they treat Seattle's residents! Rather, I'd like to see the city make the decision to finally build out our own municipal network. The city could run it (e.g. Seattle City Light) or simply provide the infrastructure to qualified ISPs who would "compete" with each other. One of the benefits would be that city residents would see downward price pressures which benefits our communities and low income groups. But there are a host of other tangible and intangible benefits.

I know there have been numerous reports showing this information, but getting the city to wake up and do something is the hard part.


Come on, mayor Murray - let's get off the pot and make Seattle the technology city that every Seattle administration has claimed it to be!

robtfree
robtfree

where are you from? have you lived in seattle long? or which part?...ive been here 40years..had 7 kids on lunch program..etc...and we've been poor most of that time...so i dont know about conflating etc...just what i know...there are less original poor folks now ..most that i know  have had to move 20 miles each direction out of Seattle. they commute into town to do slave jobs...there are new white privileged people, with student loans..also poor..and lots of homeless...who are also poor...they go un noticed..except when youre asked for spare change.

- See more at: http://murray.seattle.gov/broadband/?hubRefSrc=email#lf_comment=212115357

Marc Pease
Marc Pease

In a review of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act/ARRA of 2009, the Urban Area Security Initiative / UASI was established through a grant supporting local emergency operations, emergency preparedness and real time multiple agency connectivity during emergencies. Researching the ARRA and Sec.6001 of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program/BTOP initiatives demonstrated through UASI grant funding and deployment of broadband provide connectivity and interoperability with state networking. Seattle, in a Communications Interoperability Proposal using UASI grant funding outlined distinct and specific urban focused technology initiatives including video conferencing, two-way radio, data communications, secure telephone,public outreach and education. King and Pierce counties, taking the lead, connected facilities, tied into the state networks and regional communication networking. Comcast renewal throughout the region, CenturyLink's current state broadband connectivity to educational facilities across the state and into many local government facilities already point to regional cooperation and effective cost saving measures using institutional connectivity all authorized via local franchise authority, and public utility broadband authority pursuant to the 1996 Telecommunication Act. I feel it is time to look at all the potential opportunities of the existing contractual agreements via King County's I-Net ( Comcast), the State's three broadband networks (CenturyLink) and look at these broadband advantages. 

TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

It is an interesting model. I thought the program ended in 2010.

NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

@Marc Pease 

Can you explain in a little more detail? I'm completely unfamiliar with these programs and how the city could take advantage of these programs if they could help provide funding and/or access for municipal broadband!

robtfree
robtfree

In the late 1970s, i was living in Edmonton Alberta. the city eliminated all telephone/power-lines and buried them underground. many complained at the cost. but over the years..no power outages from storms and the beauty of the city is greatly enhanced. Same can be said of extending or mandating the big ISP to finish the "last mile". As to the poor neighborhoods..where the hell are they? most poor people have had to relocate from the loss of homes from the Holly park..High Point and Rainer vista  garden communities. as "mixed" income houses were constructed to accommodate ..the poor middle class needs for housing. the notion of mixing poor folk with middle income would some how through osmosis elevate poor people into middle class lifestyles. so very few places of poverty in Seattle, as the housing strategy of the city is to "move them out!" ie Yesler Terrace re construct. So hesitation of IPS to make lines into the "poor " sections is a weak argument. its part of the IPS strategy to choke the lines through under capacity, unless you pay more for unchoked access.


TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

You should go to the Seattle Public Schools website and see how many kids have free or reduced lunch, and how the city extends that into the summer for kids.

You will be surprised by how many kids are involved.

The households those kids live in are not likely customers of $79 broadband internet.

The digital divide is a real thing. It's been studied to death. Not surprisingly, the duopoly still hasn't closed that gap. It's been a decade.

robtfree
robtfree

@TweetMrBaker  the median income for Seattle is around $86,000. so lunch program includes many whose family have income several times the federal poverty levels..as is allowed. the Seattle school program picks up from full to a reduced cost of a lunch...those numbers reveal a bit more...regardless...look at the stats from a few years ago..either way...there were many in the school program then and now...

TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

Are you conflating the federal poverty level vs cost of living in Seattle, or in the Seattle metropolitan area?

Are you saying that there aren't any poor people in Seattle?

robtfree
robtfree

@TweetMrBaker where are you from? have you lived in seattle long? or which part?...ive been here 40years..had 7 kids on lunch program..etc...and we've been poor most of that time...so i dont know about conflating etc...just what i know...there are less original poor folks now ..most that i know  have had to move 20 miles each direction out of Seattle. they commute into town to do slave jobs...there are new white privileged people, with student loans..also poor..and lots of homeless...who are also poor...they go un noticed..except when youre asked for spare change.


TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

Born here, 50 years, thanks for asking.

There are still poor people that live in Seattle. They didn't all move out, and they can't afford to pay Comcast and CenturyLink their profits.

So, they do not have a profit incentive to build into those neighborhoods.

Municipal FTTP / FTTH if done as a utility would be mandated to build out to every place SCL has a power meter.

We already subsidize power to many people, subsidizing fiber to the home for basic VoIP or connectivity might be helpful since services that many people depend on have most items online.

Marc Pease
Marc Pease

Consideration of partnerships with King County and its own Institutional Network and the State's regional Intergovernmental (cities and counties) / K-20 (educational) networks for optimum connectivity should be part of any broadband plan moving forward. Connections currently tie the UW, King County offices, emergency services in King and Pierce Counties, Tacoma Power's Click Network, and health facilities regionally together. CenturyLink connects much of the state networking under the overview of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission so this partnership optimization already exists. I feel that municipal broadband should encompass a regional approach for enhancing competition, connectivity, and budget/ cost efficiencies.    

TweetMrBaker
TweetMrBaker

I hate to say it but, I do not see them participating in metro transit. I'm not sure how much to expect them to participate in this.

We might want to skip to our current situation and partner with municipalities near Seattle that are interested.

Marc Pease
Marc Pease

The muni broadband plan , I think , should consider partnerships with King County and their own Institutional Network now operational and the State's networks of Intergovernmental ( city-county) and K-20 ( educational) since there are currently connectivity with UW, King County offices, regional emergency services in King and Pierce Counties, a connection to Tacoma Power's Click Network and their own Institutional Network along with telecommunication hubs/central network locations. CenturyLink connects many of the State's networks and these current connections should be considered and leveraged for optimum resources pursuing a broadband plan as well. 

GarrettCobarr
GarrettCobarr

First, Mayor Murray, I find it confusing and somewhat manipulative to ask the public this question, "Do you support high speed internet in Seattle? Speak out now!" then ask, "If you support increasing high speed internet and support Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to change the SDOT Director’s Rule we need to hear from you now."


Why can't I and the rest of the public support high speed Internet and not support the amendment of the "Director's Rule?" At every chance you and your staff get, you make the possibility of broadband and the end of the "Director's Rule" sound synonymous. They are not.


It highly likely that the Rule does not need to be amended, but to what? You fail to say what that will look like. The Director's Rule was created to allow individual home owners a say in what happens in front of their home, the single largest investment in their lifetimes. I would agree that the amount of approval by local home owners may be to much.


Are you willing to take the unpopular political position and tell me that I have no rights as to what takes place in front of my home? That I must sacrifice them to the giant, faceless telecom and cable company monopolies and where, to their profit driven whims, they wish to place their metal cabinets and the concrete foundations that they require? That's intolerable. These cabinets are not only unsightly, they would likely limit access to someone's home and reduce the property's value.


This would not be true in the case of large apartment buildings or commercial structures but the scale is very different with single family dwellings. If you want to have an honest debate that allows people to make a clear decision, you need to tell Seattle voters what your amended Director's Rule would look like and what our rights will be on the placement of telecom and cable company equipment.


Second, at every public meeting I attended on the Comcast re-franchise, held a few months ago, what I heard overwhelmingly, everything else being a distant second, was a full throated desire for a municipal broadband. The loathing of high speed Internet, large monopoly solutions was unmistakable. To sign another 10 year contract with same problematic players would be huge mistake and stick us in the backseat once again. 5 years is a long time in technology, 10 years is a life time.


I find it amazing that we can muscle the money for a ridiculous tunnel under the waterfront, or another sports stadium, and yet we cannot get it up to put in broadband throughout Seattle. This does not make us a World Class city.


NetworkGuy
NetworkGuy

@GarrettCobarr 

Agreed! I think the city has waited a very long time for real broadband. Something none of the incumbents have a true incentive to provide. The city MUST look at municipal broadband as the only way to truly blanket the city and meet one of the things stated by mayor Murray - that there are competitive and affordable options. CenturyLink may compete in some markets in the city, but their recently announced product is NOT affordable. At $152/month *without* any bundled services, that prices a large number of Seattle families right out of the market.


Requiring families to "bundle" phone and/or TV service to get their $79.95/month pricing is not realistic. How many families have eliminated home phones in favor of cell phones? And how many have cancelled TV service and using only over-the-air broadcasts? For these folks, $152/month is hardly affordable!