Springs takes subdued approach to Google competition

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A number of cities are locked in fierce competition to be chosen for a free Google pilot program that would install a citywide network of ultra-high-speed broadband service.

Google has hung the offer out there, and cities have responded.

The mayor of Duluth, Minn. said he’ll jump into a frozen lake.

The mayor of a small Florida town said he’ll swim with sharks, and the mayor of Wilmington, N.C. offered to jump out of an airplane.

Topeka, Kan., renamed itself “Google” for a 24-hour period.

Colorado Springs wants in on the competition, too, but local efforts are a little more subdued – there’s a banner ad on the city Web site encouraging people to complete a petition to send to Google.

“We’re working on the RFI (request for information),” said Curlie Matthews, director of information technology for Colorado Springs. “I think having a solid RFI is better than the flashy stuff.”

Matthews said Colorado Springs stands a good chance with Google – it has a highly educated, highly technical work force, and is home to four military bases.

“And they have to have a constant exchange of information, every day,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing that will get Google’s attention – not the stunts.”

But there appears to be good reason for the competition.

Google says its network would produce speeds more than 100 times faster than most Americans have access to today, with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections.

The network will be built for free, and the service would be offered to at least 50,000 people – or as many as 500,000 – at a competitive price.

Competing broadband providers call the Google effort a publicity stunt that will do little to advance the nation’s broadband agenda.

Still, Friday is the deadline to gain Google’s attention, and hundreds of cities are expected to apply.

The stunts also are likely to continue – in some cities.

4 Responses to Springs takes subdued approach to Google competition

  1. …….. well heck, i’d switch to Chrome if it’d help our cause !

    Like it'll matter .....
    March 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

  2. It’s typical we want, we just don’t want to work for it, I’ll get over 100 people to climb Pikes Peak with Google Ads on T-shirts with photos and video if they’ll bring it here!

    I’m not the mayor or on City Council, but maybe I should be.

    Sean Holveck
    March 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

  3. How about if the publisher of the CSBJ comes to work in knickers for a week if the Springs gets the high speed network?

    March 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm

  4. It matters…strategic relationships are the key. We have not heard from the EDC. Nor the technology Incubator. Nor Senator Bennett. There are lots of folks who could help if asked. Storage Solutions, Oracle even FEDEX. Seems they have some sort of research facility here in COS. I am willing to bet there is at least one citizen in COS who is a friend, relative, co-worker or knows someone who is in Google. After all we are the 6th most wired city in the US!!! Please all respond to the banner and make your feelings known. If Google will not do it we should consider a vote to let the Colorado Springs Utilities do it for the citizenry. All it would take would be a referendum.

    William P. Murray
    March 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm