Cities, towns go gaga to gain Google's super-fast networks

Local governments and residents have until tonight to nominate their communities for consideration in Google's plan to build "ultra-high-speed" fiber networks in some places in the U.S.

Since opening up the nomination process on Feb. 10, Google has received suggestions from more than 600 municipalities and from more than 190,000 individuals, the company said today.

The response has far exceeded Google's expectations and reinforces the main thrust behind the initiative, said product manager James Kelly in an official blog post.

"If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access," he said.

Google also praised the "creativity" of some participants. For example, in order to attract Google's attention, Sarasota Mayor Richard Clapp swam with sharks, while Greenville, S.C., held an evening rally where participants spelled "Google" with LED glow sticks.

Once the nominations window closes tonight at 8 Eastern Time, Google will evaluate the submissions in the coming months, visit some communities and meet with local government representatives and with other organizations.

Google expects to announce the chosen community or communities by the end of 2010.

The goal is to deliver 1GBbit/sec. connections to homes at "competitive" prices, covering between 50,000 and 500,000 people.

Better and faster Internet access is necessary for next-generation Internet services and applications, according to Google, which plans to establish an open access model to its network, so that subscribers have multiple options in service providers.

Nominations can be made online by going to this Web site.

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