Google fiber winners to be announced by end of year; 1,100 apply
Map: source, Google
The large red dots show concentrations of more than 1,000 individual responses.
The smaller dots represent government responses.
From Maui to Maine, 1,100 municipalities across the nation applied to be part of Google’s broadband fiber experiment. Topeka temporarily renamed itself "Google, Kansas" to sweetened its plea. San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Jose applied separately, all arguing their worth as the center of the high-tech community. Struggling cities like Scranton said Google’s broadband pipes could jump start their economy.
They sent their pitches by You Tube and organized fan pages. The huge response, analysts said, proves the enormous hunger for faster speeds and recognition of the economic and social benefits of broadband. Some 600 applications came at the last few hours before business closing on Friday. Google said it would make the applications public.
Of course, Google’s project is limited -- they promise a wide range of recipients: 50,000 to 500,000 people. And it’s unclear how the company will build it out and how much it would cost for service. But by building a network of 1 gigabit speeds, they are raising the bar for telecom and cable companies, they say.
Google said in its blog last Friday, the deadline to apply, that it will choose the winning communities before the end of the year. The search giant said it will review all the applications over the coming months, make site visits as they narrow down their list. But it didn’t say how many communities get their coveted 1-gigbit-to-the-home network.
“This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network,” wrote James Kelly, a product manager. “If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.”
Indeed, the offering – although experimental and limited – stands in contrast to goals set by the Federal Communications Commission to bring affordable, 100 megabit speeds to 100 million homes within a decade. Some cable companies are already offering trials for the speeds today and Google’s project makes the FCC’s aspirations feel too modest.
But analysts also note that faster connections come with a price. And if the FCC is able to make 100-megabit connections available across income groups, they would meet a demand by consumers for more affordable access.
March 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Broadband , Google
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