When Google announced their intentions to deploy a gigabit broadband service, the entire U.S. stood up and took notice, and for several good reasons. Gigabit connections would put the U.S. back in the driver’s seat, and there are countless applications that could benefit from incredibly fast broadband connectivity. Online backups, video on demand services, video gaming, and general downloading can all be enhanced with gigabit class broadband, so it is not surprising to see cities, counties, and even states clamoring for a piece of the action. After all, Google was intentionally vague when it came to outlining just where and when their gigabit broadband service would be available.
Topeka Goes Gaga for Google’s Gigabit
The first sign that Google had indeed stirred public interest was when Topeka changed its name to Google for a month. The gauntlet was officially thrown down, even though the act was more of a publicity stunt than anything else. Some may have thought that nothing would come of what appeared to be an idle challenge, but the exact opposite seems to be the case. Every city in the nation seems to be clamoring to get Google’s attention in some way, shape or form. Good PR has never been so cheap for those willing to at least commit to thinking about broadband progress.
More Cities Line Up to Make Their Case for Gigabit Broadband
Greensboro is making an attempt to grab Google’s attention by passing out Google/Greensboro shirts and trinkets at the Greensboro Coliseum. This giveaway is part of a larger plan that includes an advertising campaign complete with social networking, incentives, and hopefully jobs for a lot of out of work citizens. While Greensboro seems to be focusing more on creating a PR win for Google by helping a downtrodden city in the worst of times, Tempe is making a slightly different kind of bid.
Tempe’s bid apparently comes as a product of interest from its citizens, at least that is what Chair of Tempe City Council’s Committee on Technology, Economic and Community Development, Onnie Shekerjian had to say on the subject. Tempe is allegedly willing to offer Google a very attractive package of incentives in exchange for the strong probability that Google’s gigabit network could not only connect government bodies and schools more effectively, but also because Tempe is already a burgeoning tech hotbed. Gigabit broadband would be the proverbial icing on the cake necessary to attract the right types of talent and companies to one of Arizona’s finest cities.
Sarasota is in on the action as well, as is Cincinnati, Grand Rapid, Rochester, New Jersey, and even Duluth Minnesota are all trying to attract Google’s broadband business. In fact, some Duluthians even posted a tongue in cheek YouTube pronouncement declaring every firstborn male child in their city would be named “Google Fiber” and each firstborn female would be renamed to “Gogglette Fiber.” All joking aside, the fact is that the ball is rolling in a very large way.
Companies Are Getting in on the Action Too
Many believed that Google’s announcement was not meant to formally herald their entry into the broadband arena so much as it was to put the existing broadband providers on notice. The future of broadband is progressing too slowly for Google’s tastes, as well as the tastes of those who follow technology in general. The United States is desperately in danger of falling behind when it comes to broadband performance, despite valiant efforts from services such as AT&T’s U-verse and Verizon’s FiOS network. These high speed networks serve only a small portion of the United States, and while they offer speeds unheard of by their competition, those speeds are starting to lag behind the rest of the world’s broadband connectivity.
The FCC has taken note of this and issued guidelines that will help broadband providers deliver 100 Mbps downstream connections to 100 million households and/or businesses by the close of the decade, but those speeds are already on the horizon for many consumers in European countries. These incentives are allowing companies such as Globe Communications to expand their fiber optic network ahead of schedule. This is very good news, and there are even rumblings in the Verizon camp that their next-generation FiOS network may be deployed in new markets instead of only offered as an upgrade to residents of existing FiOS markets.
In short, Google’s challenge seems to have paid off in terms of people, government bodies, and businesses taking notice. With millions of Americans out of work, it would seem like a great time for the government to get the ball rolling on programs to put people to work developing and deploying new fiber optic networks. Hopefully Google’s political clout and marketing genius will inspire providers to fall in line and get onboard.