200,000 respond to Google’s fibre broadband experiment

29 Mar 2010

Google’s plans to deploy 1Gbps fibre to the home in select communities in the US has been met with some 200,000 responses from interested individuals, the search giant said at the weekend.

In February, the company said it is planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a number of trial locations across the US. The company pledged to deliver internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, with 1 gigabit per second, fibre-to-the-home connections.

The company at the weekend said that with hours to go before the submission deadline, it has received more than 1,100 community responses and more than 194,000 responses from individuals.

Variety of submissions for high-speed broadband

Communities keen to get the state-of-the-art in connectivity have made all manner of submissions, offering to rename their cities, YouTube videos, rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups.

Even in Ireland Fine Gael city councillor Eoghan Murphy called on fellow Dublin city managers on Monday to propose Dublin as a trial location for Google’s state-of-the-art fibre broadband.

“We aren’t seeing any investment at all in critical infrastructure. If the government isn’t going to help us then we should help ourselves. We should go out and look for people to invest in us,” Murphy said.

“We’re thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate,” Google’s James Kelly said.

“This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it’s this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster internet access.

“So what’s next? Over the coming months, we’ll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we’ll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organisations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

“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 a shark tank to get ultra high-speed broadband,” Kelly said.

By John Kennedy

Photo: A map indicating US areas that have expressed interest in Google’s plans to deploy 1Gbps fibre to the home in select communities

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years