Please Google, Bring Fiber to Charlottesville

Alerted by a Tweet from @sajego:

Dear Charlottesville municipalities – sign up for Google Broadband!

I read on

Google is planning to launch an experiment that we hope will make Internet access better and faster for everyone. We plan to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. Our networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

From now until March 26th, we’re asking interested municipalities to provide us with information about their communities through a Request for information (RFI), which we’ll use to determine where to build our network.

Google goes big. Nearly every single time … but will they bring fiber to Charlottesville?

Update 23 February 2010: It seems that UVA, Albemarle and Charlottesville can cooperate. 🙂

Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia are considering making a joint application for a pilot program that would install fiber-optic cable allowing for broadband speeds up to 100 times faster than what the community currently enjoys.

Update 24 February 2010: Charlottesville City Councilor Dave Norris is asking for the public’s help in getting Google’s attention.

More at the Wall Street Journal

From TechCrunch:

Google owns its own vast network of dark fiber around the globe to connect its data centers, speed up search, and lower its cost of streaming billions of videos a month on YouTube. With this project, Google is taking its first step in connecting that fiber backbone to consumer’s homes. It is not clear what Google services will come with a broadband subscription, but it is a safe bet that Google will be the default search and Gmail will be the default email. Maybe they can throw in Google Voice service and an Android phone that lets you talk over WiFi.

Charlottesville has been consistently rated as a top “Digital City” and while I think it’s a bit of a silly designation, why don’t we capitalize and leverage this?

For the sixth year in a row, the Center for Digital Government has ranked the City of Charlottesville as one of the Top Ten Digital Cities in America.

So what say you, Charlottesville and Albemarle governments??? This is something on which you really, really, really should collaborate and cooperate.

Tell the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and the City of Charlottesville City Council your thoughts.

From Google:

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  1. David Hamilton February 10, 2010 at 17:01

    I hope Google hears your plea. In the meantime, a couple of communities have made the investment to bring in Fiber-to-the-Home. In our case, out at Bundoran Farm, the degree of difficulty was substantial. Even going it on our own, we depend utterly on incumbent providers to connect our state-of-the-art network to the rest of the world’s infrastructure. Unfortunately, the real estate market has lagged in recognizing the value of these infrastructural connections (which are now quantifiable), and a lot of people purchase homes, only to find after closing thay they can’t get the data connections they need, at any price. Real estate professionals need to understand this, and educate buyers on the value of fiber, not just now, but for the way we’ll live our lives in 5-10 years.

    1. Jim February 10, 2010 at 17:09

      David –

      Thank you for the comment. I consistently tell buyer clients (and anyone who will listen) about Bundoran Farm’s having fiber. When I talk to buyers relocating to the Charlottesville area, one of their first three questions is usually about our broadband coverage.

      Further, when I read this comment today,

      The other great thing about orderTopia is the opportunity it’s given us to meet more of the Charlottesville tech community. Charlottesville has a ton of tech talent, and orderTopia has enabled us to work with some very smart folks, as well as make some great friendships. We’ve been very lucky to be building orderTopia in a place like Charlottesville that has such a great tech and startup scene.

      it highlighted two things for me –

      1 – CharlAlbemarle should have the technical infrastructure to support our growing tech community.

      2 – This would be a perfect opportunity for Charlottesville and Albemarle governments to cooperate.


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