B4B - Build for Broadband

Information IconB4B Tip of the Month: The Internet of Things "IoT" is quietly and quickly changing the way we live - and expanding demands for realiable, robust broadband connectivity. In 2018 the U.S. had 8.2 networked (IoT) devices per person. That number is projected to climb to 13.4 per person by just 2023.  What might the IoT future require from your building's broadband infrastruture

Article of the Month: Beyond Telecom Law Blog, Keller and Heckman LLPThe Essential 21st Century MDU Amenity Highspeed Broadband Service. "Owners whose properties lack adequate broadband connectivity are in an unenviable position, whether due to unavailable robust broadband service or limited property infrastructure such as inadequate risers, pathways, or lack of spare conduit to accommodate more than one service provider."

 Forum Best Practices for ISP Competition

Watch the City's Forum on MDU Internet Access for Property Owners and Managers with presentations on best practices for allowing multiple ISPs to serve residential MDU buildings. 

Watch past B4B educational webinars here

Over half of Seattle's residents live in multi-dwelling-unit (MDU) housing and it continues to be our fastest growing housing segment; 80% of 2019 housing permits have been for MDU buildings. 

Like residents in single family homes, MDU residents want access to competitive, high-speed broadband. A 2017 City survey found that 66% of MDU residents said it was very important to have a choice in broadband providers. But access to competitive, high speed options is often limited - by older building wiring or a new building's lack of telecommunication infrastructure capacity. A lack of broadband planning can also lead to new buildings constructed with infrastructure insufficient to meet the future needs of residents. 

The City's B4B-Build For Broadband Initiative wants to help address this. We'll provide information to support best practices in planning for MDU broadband infrastructure. We'll also provide information on emerging technologies that could prove helpful to getting more competition and higher speeds to older buildings.

B4B-Tip Ensuring Broadband Service Access for MDU Development Projects

B4B-Tip 6000 was developed by the City and ISPs working together to recommend steps all projects should follow to plan exterior broadband service connections when constructing new MDUs.

The primary broadband planning step - for a new build or major remodel - is to engage broadband service providers (ISPs) and plan for the exterior connectivity to your building. To ensure your MDU will be broadband ready when residents move in:

  • Determine which providers can serve the property
  • Don't assume an ISP can serve your building
  • Contact ISPs early, at the same time you reach out to other utilities
  • Plan to install separate conduit for multiple ISPs to increase competitive options at your building
  • Arrange for ISPs to install when ground work is being done

For more guidance on how to approach this early planning, and for helpful ISP contact information read the full B4B-Tip 6000.

B4B - Tips of the Month

February: Considering the investment level for your building's broadband infrastructure? Think about the lifetime of your building and imagine the broadband capacity demands of residents in 20-30 years. Invest for the digital future and the ability to meet your residents' increasing bandwidth demands into the next decades. 

March: The internet began with users viewing and downloading content. Today, residents work and study from home and use cloud storage services; everyone is doing a lot more content uploading. Keep this in mind when evaluating your MDU broadband service solutions. Offering symmetrical broadband service, where download and upload capacity are identical, will support growing user upload demands. Solutions offering asymmetrical service, where download is greater than upload capacity, should be considered for the long-term upload provisioning it can offer. 

April/May: Use this historic period of extended sheltering-in-place to consider the importance of having an adaptable, ultra high-capacity broadband system available to meet the long-term needs of your MDU residents. This unique period shows the type demand placed on a building's system when multiple household members are home and engaging in telework, teleeducation, telemedicine, entertainment and social networking, all based on bandwidth-intensive video. The Shelter-in-Place period will pass, but the reality of the digital future - and ever increasing reliance on broadband for all aspects of daily life - will remain. 

June: For the apartment of the future, telecommunications will be at the heart of it all. Each apt will need greater speed and capacity for devices in future. Nielsen's Law of Internet bandwidth, measuring bandwidth usage from 1998 to 2019, states that a high-end user's connection speed grows by 50% per year. A broadband system experiencing a 50% annual growth will need to be able to handle over 57 times more data in just 10 years time.

July: MDU broadband networks now need to consider system upload capacity equally with the traditional focus on download capacity. The shift is seen in a recent NCTA (The Internet & Television Association) study which found that since March 2020 networks saw a 22.1% increase in upload traffic, compared with a 9.1% growth in the downstream traffic.

August: The design phase of a broadband network is critical. Connect a low voltage designer with your architect to ensure this critical network is integrated into your MDU infrastructure design from the start.  

Article of the Month

FebruaryBroadband Communities Magazine Even in a gigabit world, it takes more than great internet speed to keep MDU residents happy. Offers insights on how property owners can provide residents with the technological amenities they demand.

MarchPOTs and PANs by CCG Broadband Consumption Continues Explosive Growth OpenVault's 4Q 2019 Broadband Industry Report shows the average monthly data consumed by households grew by 27% from 2018 to 2019. "An annual 27% increase in broadband consumption means that broadband demand is continuing to double every three years. If that growth rate is sustained, then our networks need to be prepared within a decade to carry 8.6 times more data than today."  

April:  Bloomberg News Empty Offices, Full Homes: Covid-19 Might Strain the Internet  "The weak link in the chain, where the system could get overloaded, is going to be the home broadband network," said Lisa Pierce, a network expert with Gartner. "People will hit congestion, just like a highway, where the speed goes from 60 miles an hour to 20." 

May: Broadband Communities Magazine Flexibility With Fiber in Multifamily  "Fiber has at least 100,000 times the capacity of any other medium and is limited only by the electronics connected to it. With bandwidth demands increasing 10 times every 10 years, fiber is the only technology that can keep pace for the life of a building." 

June: Benton Foundation for Internet & SocietyBroadband Subscriptions Are Up...But What's Behind the Numbers? "...30% to 40% of the workforce are expected to continue to work from home even after the pandemic plays out. For these households, upload speeds are at least as big a concern as download speeds since upstream traffic during peak hours has risen 35%."

July: Broadband Communities Magazine, Predictions for Broadband After COVID-19, "The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the way people live and work through technology."

August: Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, America's Broadband Moment: Facilitating Competition in Apartment Building"Encouraging competition in MTEs will reduce broadband prices and help to connect countless families who are struggling to afford this essential service."

Forum Best Practices for ISP Competition

Watch the City's Forum on MDU Internet Access for Property Owners and Managers with presentations on best practices for allowing multiple ISPs to serve residential MDU buildings. 

Know Your Rights When Negotiating Cable Service Contracts

This City hosted educational seminar covers the rights of building owners, property managers and homeowners association members when negotiating cable service contracts for their buildings.
The seminar helps answer questions like:

  • What happens when your current cable contract expires?
  • How are service contracts and right-of-entry agreements different?
  • Do you have to sign a long-term cable service agreement?
  • Can you negotiate with the cable operator?
  • Who really owns the cable wiring in your building?

Click here to watch the seminar or to view the presentation slides. Click here to listen to a podcast.

B4B-Webinar Series

A free summer webinar series is being offered to cover foundational areas for understanding broadband and planning elements for serving your building. Webinars will run from 12:00-1:00 pm PST.

  • BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY 101  - June 13, 2019  Watch full webinar* or view slides.  What exactly is broadband and why do builders need to plan for it like any other utility? This webinar is for the non-technical audience and provides a review of the broadband challenges in the U.S. through the lens of the internet’s deployment history, looking at both wired and wireless infrastructure. Presenter: Joanne Hovis, owner of CTC Technology and Energy and co-founder of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC). See Joanne's full Bio here  *(note: there is some background noise during presentation due to where presenter was located)
  • PATHWAYS: July 18, 2019  Watch full webinar or view slidesInfrastructure pathways are the foundation of MDU broadband connectivity. Learn what's needed to get broadband connectivity in your building and how to ensure you've got access for competitive service options and flexibility for future service changes. Presenters: Clark Guler, the Business Development Manager-MicroTechnology for Dura-Line Corporation. Dura-Line is an International TL9000 and ISO9001 registered company that provides pathway solutions for broadband, electrical, industrial and commercial applications.  Haley Krommenhoek, the Manager of Electrical Engineering for Rushing, a Seattle-based mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and sustainability consulting firm.
  • G.FAST TECHNOLOGY: GETTING MORE BROADBAND IN BROWNFIELD MDUs: July 25, 2019 Watch full webinar* or view slides.   This webinar focuses on an emerging technology to increase broadband service in older buildings. Learn about G.Fast technology that is able to offer high speed broadband service over existing wiring, avoiding the need to rewire a building to offer increased speeds or a competitive provider option to your residents. Presenter: Kevin McClain, Business Development Director at ADTRAN specializing in the introduction of new telecom access technologies. *(note: there is a short audio pause between 14:20 and 16:06. Recommend fast-forward through that segment)
  • WIRED vs. WIRELESS: August 22, 2019  Watch full webinar* or view slides. For anyone wanting to better understand the wired and wireless options for providing broadband services in MDUs, this webinar discusses the pros and cons of each type of solution, how and when they can complement each other, how they're expected to continue evolving, and answers common questions like "won't everything be wireless in the future?" and "how does the coming of "5G" impact my building decisions?" Presenter: Doug Dawson, President and founder of CCG Consulting, has worked in the telecom industry since 1978 and brings expertise in all aspects of telecom services including engineering, regulatory, business planning, strategic planning and implementation services. He is skilled at making broadband technologies and planning issues comprehensible to wide audiences and writes a daily blog that can be found at http://potsandpansbyccg.com
  • AGREEMENTS: [To be scheduled] An overview of the types of agreements involved with bringing internet services to your MDU and best practices for protecting your future service flexibility and control. Be prepared to navigate your options and contract language before making long-term contract decisions for your building!

Seattle is fortunate to have many broadband providers that can serve MDUs with up to Gigabit service. These providers will work with you to assess the availability of broadband service connection options for your project. The below contacts can help you reach team members trained to work with builders and developers.

Astound Broadband powered by Wave

Atlas Networks


Google Fiber Webpass

Quantum Fiber

Broadband Communities Magazinewww.bbcmag.com/multifamily-broadband

Provides information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities, with an aim to help large-scale and wholesale buyers and users of broadband technologies, equipment, and services competitively distinguish their properties and communities in a rapidly-changing marketplace.

Light Reading: www.lightreading.com

An independent online news, analysis and opinion resource reporting on all that's hot in the telecommunications sector. Light Reading covers telecom, mobile and cable network operators, cloud services players, and all the companies developing and supplying them with technology, applications and professional services.  A great resource for learning more about current and emerging cable and wireless video and broadband-related technologies, and for free webinars on a variety of topics.

Information Technology

Jim Loter, Interim Chief Technology Officer
Address: 700 5th Ave, Suite 2700, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 94709, Seattle, WA, 98124-4709
Phone: (206) 684-0600
Phone Alt: Cable TV & Internet Discount Information: (206) 684-8498

Newsletter Updates


Sign up for the latest updates from Information Technology