Upgrade Seattle Launches Campaign for a City-Owned and Operated Internet Utility

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Hollis Wong-Wear will emcee a public conversation with municipal broadband expert Christopher Mitchell at the official launch of Upgrade Seattle, June 18 at Town Hall Seattle. Lunch-and-Learn events featuring Mitchell will also be produced at Impact Hub and City Hall as part of the campaign launch week.

Upgrade Seattle is a new campaign for a city-owned and operated gigabit speed Internet municipal utility for Seattle.

Comcast alone collects at least $15 million a month from Seattle customers. We think more of that money should stay in Seattle, and that our Internet providers should be more accountable to residents through a city-owned & operated Internet utility

Upgrade Seattle, a grassroots group of community organizers, artists, musicians, tech workers and more, will officially launch a campaign for a city-owned and operated alternative to for-profit Internet providers in Seattle, Thursday, June 18 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall Seattle. Local activist/musician Hollis Wong-Wear will emcee a conversation with Christopher Mitchell, the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, followed by breakout sessions where attendees can get involved in organizing for better, more affordable broadband in their city council district.

“Seeking a job, educating yourself and your children, or just trying to be an active member of a democratic society, you need access to information - and that means the Internet,” said Sabrina Roach, initiator of the Upgrade Seattle campaign and a Doer at Brown Paper Tickets. Roach and the grassroots group of organizers are advocating specifically for an Internet utility that is city-owned and operated to keep more money in Seattle, improve access, affordability and accountability.

”We guesstimate that Comcast alone collects at least $15 million a month from Seattle customers,” Roach said. “We think more of that money should stay in Seattle, and that our Internet service providers should be more accountable to residents through a city-owned and operated Internet utility.”

Christopher Mitchell is a national expert on community networks and approaches, having authored the most in-depth case studies of how a variety of communities have already moved forward on municipal networks. He'll address why local governments have to get in the game and which technologies are the most appropriate.

Hollis Wong-Wear is a writer, performer and creative producer in Seattle, WA. She is the lead vocalist of the electronic band The Flavr Blue and was GRAMMY nominated for Album of the Year for her vocal performance of "White Walls" on The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and produced their video “Thrift Shop”. She serves on the Seattle Center Advisory Board, the Seattle Music Commission, and is a board member of 4Culture.

Lunch-and-Learn events featuring Mitchell will also take place at noon on June 17 at Impact Hub, in partnership with Code Seattle, and at noon on June 18 at City Hall, at an event produced by Brown Paper Tickets in partnership with City Councilmember Nick Licata. All events are free and open to the public, but space is limited so an RSVP is recommended at: http://www.upgradeseattle.com/calendar.

To learn more about Upgrade Seattle, go to http://www.upgradeseattle.com.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Members of Upgrade Seattle are available for in-person, in-studio, and telephone comments and interviews, and Christopher Mitchell is available for telephone comments and interviews.

Contact Barb Morgen at Barb(at)BrownPaperTickets(dot)com or at 206.898.8411.

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