Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Boise Courts Google for Real High Speed Internet

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2010 at 6:33 PM

I just tested our bandwidth here at BWHQ and got a pokey 1.58 megabit per second download speed. We use Fiberpipe for our ISP and happen to be across the street from a Qwest switching station.

A recent commenter at boiseweekly.com suggested the Japanese get more like 28 megabits per second.

Google wants to build an experimental 1 gigabit per second fiber optic network in one or more communities across the country. That means we can blog 1,000 times faster, for one. It also means we can do things online that aren't even imaginable right now.

This is how the Goog describes it:

In the same way that the transition from dial-up to broadband made possible the emergence of online video and countless other applications, ultra high-speed bandwidth will drive more innovation—in high-definition video, remote data storage, real-time multimedia collaboration, and others that we cannot yet imagine. It will enable new consumer applications, as well as medical, educational, and other services that can benefit communities. If the Internet has taught us anything, it's that the most important innovations are often those we least expect.

In other words, with high speed internet you might just pee your pants. And no one would know. It's that fast.

Take it from James Kelly:

That's got Boise economic developer Cece Gassner thinking. Since Google announced the test project, Gassner has received some 50 e-mails encouraging the city to throw its hat in the ring.

"We have a pretty temperate climate and a relatively easy terrain to navigate," Gassner said. "With the natural need in this area for better broadband service ... I think it would be a great addition to Boise"

Gassner is filling out an application on behalf of the city, but anyone can nominate their city here.

Google will accept applications through March 26. They are looking to roll out fiber to between 50,000 and 500,000 consumers and businesses in one or more towns as part of the test.

I'm still figuring this all out, but last week we wrote about federal broadband grants that appear to be overlooking many small, worthy, innovative projects in favor of existing ISPs. It's clear that Google's move is a direct challenge to those existing ISPs, going directly to interested city and county officials to make their best pitch for why super-high-speed internet would unleash a flood of innovation.

Google wants us to do a little jig though, producing little videos and executing little social media strategies to get their attention. Seattle and many other cities are interested in being picked, so Gassner is planning to at least set up a Facebook page for Boise soon. Anyone else out there have some ideas? Anyone else peeing their pants yet?

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