More than 190,000 citizens and some 600 communities around the country are begging Google to pick them for their announced test of an ultra-fast broadband network, the company announced Friday, just hours before it stops accepting applications.
Google says it wants to work with a test community to bring 100 Gpbs fiber optic broadband to between 50,000 and 500,000 people. That’s a gigantic leap in bandwidth for many, given that average broadband speeds in many of the nation’s top cities averages about a hundredth of that: 10 Mbps, according to the FCC.
Cities launched Facebook campaigns, two renamed themselves, and others opted for uploading creative videos to YouTube in order to capture the attention of the search and advertising giant.
Google says it will evaluate the applications over the next few months before coming to a decision on which community to work with.
The company has a thorny relationship with the nation’s ISPs who ogle Google’s profits and are fighting to be more than just utilities by offering more and more services — such as Video-On-Demand that are only available to their subscribers. (See the Olympics coverage for how well that model is received by the public).
You can see hints of that in Google’s post about the entries Friday:
If one message has come through loud and clear, it’s this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access. […]
Of course, we’re not going to be able to build in every interested community — our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment. Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn’t have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.
Google’s motivation is simple: faster internet leads to more pages viewed online leads to more ads seen by users meaning more money for Google.
The point of the experiment is likely two-fold. Build a great network that shames the current companies delivering slow connections around the net. And perhaps more Google-like, it might just find a way for communities and a well-heeled company like Google to pair together to build municipal fiber that many ISPs can sell services from.
If that model turns out to work — and that’s a big if since fiber to the home is expensive, Google’s little experiment might do more to bring fast connections to the country than the FCC’s well-researched, but ultimately pragmatic National Broadband Plan.
i want google’s fast fiber too!!!!!!!!!