Local cities push to be Google's guinea pig

March 16, 2010 6:46:43 PM PDT
Can you imagine your computer running 100 times faster than it already does?

Google is offering to install an ultra high-speed broadband network in one community somewhere in the United States and cities are lining up for the chance.

Never have so many cities in the U.S. volunteered to be guinea pigs of the Internet. More than 80 have applied to be a test site for Google's ultra high speed broadband network.

San Jose's City Council voted on Tuesday to join the race and the mayor gave a good pitch.

"San Jose is the capitol of Silicon Valley, the innovation center of the world, nobody else can do that. We're the number one tech center in the world by any measure and this is the place where Google out to be to roll out this new technology," says Mayor Chuck Reed.

Google wants to deliver better and faster internet access, one gigabit per second, which translates into the following.

"In the selected locations, we'll offer internet connections up to 100 times faster than many Americans have access to today," says a Google ad.

Google will install the fiber optics in each home. The price for the service, according to Google will be competitive. For this test, they plan to reach a minimum of 50,000 homes and a maximum of 500,000.

Some internet analyst believe that by throwing this out there, Google is telling the U.S. government it is time to catch up to other countries around the world which are more advanced that we are when it comes to broadband technology. Many countries in Asia are ahead of the U.S.

"And just like airports and roads and bridges where the infrastructure of the past, high speed broadband is the infrastructure of the future, we must have it, not just in San Jose but for the whole country," says San Jose chief strategist Kim Walesh.

Having a much faster internet connection would enable medical institutions to share vital data instantly. It would also open up a world of new and more advanced applications not yet on the market or created for that matter.

"Imagine you could have access to all the books in the Library of Congress instantly or all the movies ever made in Hollywood or all the television shows that have ever been on television, things like that," says Eric Savitz from Barron's.

People can also nominate their city. So far 28,000 in Grand Rapids, Michigan have gone on Facebook to make their case.

Monday night, the Palo Alto City Council voted to push for theirs.

The deadline is next week.


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