Perhaps you’ve heard about Google’s latest project.
We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.
Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Dwight Silverman wondered what Houston might do about this.
I e-mailed Richard Lewis, the city’s chief technical officer, and asked him if Houston was indeed an “interested in community”. I heard back from Janis Evans, director of communications for Mayor Annise Parker. She said:
This looks interesting. However, the city would need some time to take a harder look at it, which we are doing.
Houston was aggressive when it came to plans in the mid-2000s to set up a citywide Wi-Fi network – a project that imploded when the chosen vendor, EarthLink, decided to get out of the business. All that’s left of the endeavor now are some downtown Wi-Fi hotspots.
If the city wants to work with Google, they can click the button on this page to apply. And, if you’re a resident or group interested in nominating your community, there’s a button for that on the page, too.
How about it, Houston? Are you an “interested community”?
If we are, we’re going to need to step it up. The city of Austin has already taken official action – they’ve submitted an application, asked for public support, and have their City Council involved. In addition, there’s a grassroots campaign going on as well.
If Austin is going to convince Google to build here, it’s going to take a strong community response. In fact, there is a whole section of questions for the City to document the community response to the initiative.
The “Big Gig Austin” initiative has been created by a number of supporters, who want to work in support of the Google RFI. We’ve got about one month to document how incredibly badly Austin wants this network to be built here.
The official rollout of the project will be happening in the next few days. In the meantime, we’ve created a couple of resources.
- Twitter Account – You can connect to us on Twitter at @BigGigAustin.
- Facebook Group – You can join other supporters on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=337158056344
24-Hour Twitter Campaign
If, in the next 24 hours, if we can get 200 people to follow @BigGigAustin, I’ll ask the City to put us in a press release. I know there have been discussions about sending out a press release about the Google fiber project. If we can get that kind of following so quickly, I’ll ask the City to cite us in their press release as an example of how Austin is rallying behind this project.
That was posted Wednesday at noon. As of now, there are 199 followers of @BigGigAustin, so they didn’t quite make their goal by the stated deadline, but that’s still a pretty good showing.
So that’s what Austin is doing, and if we want Houston to be a part of this, that’s an example of what we’re up against. What do you say, folks?