It seems that Google's early success with its Fiber project is spurring others to do the same. Seattle is working on building its own gigabit network, in partnership with Gigabit Squared. The network will serve the city and provide high-speed internet connections via fiber-to-home links.
What's interesting is that this model completely bypasses the traditional ISPs, which, especially in the US, have a long tradition of failing to invest in infrastructure or expanding to areas where they believe they could not turn a profit.
The Seattle network
is destined to reach some 50,000 homes in 12 neighborhoods, though it would later expand to more areas. A city-wide wireless network is also planned.
While it may be surprising to see municipalities invest in internet infrastructure, it just highlights what many have been signaling already, internet is becoming a utility and a basic human need, like running water and electricity. This spells bad news for traditional ISPs but, hopefully, good news for the average customer.