I am a software engineer who relies on reliable internet for my work. Having recently moved back to Tacoma from Bellevue, I was really looking forward to returning to the Click network. But now Tacoma Public Utilities is considering leasing that unique asset right from under us.
Wave Broadband obviously wants to capture the long-term value of the fiber-optic system that was bought and paid for by the people of Tacoma. And why shouldn’t they? As Amazon and the tech sector continue to grow and as prices climb in King County, Tacoma’s investment in Click creates fertile ground for tech startups and branch offices of tech companies over the coming years.
As an alternative to this four-decade “lease,” the City of Tacoma and TPU should invest in the network’s future by making some long overdue changes. TPU’s “triple play” strategy was never viable, because cable TV subscribers have been on the decline, and landline phone users are an endangered species.
The price of that mismanagement has been to subsidize cable TV programming at the expense of not pursuing better Internet solutions, and the lack of citizen oversight allowing this to happen is appalling. TPU should focus on the future by providing world-class Internet service.