Alameda submits Google app
City officials and members of a community group formed to bring Google’s high-speed fiber experiment to town have made their pitch, saying Alameda offers the regulatory ease, logged-in community – and flat terrain – the search giant is seeking.
“Alameda will be an excellent beta for Google’s efforts due to its unique combination of physical, regulatory and community attributes, which will result in fast and effective deployment, strong demand for service and high-quality information translatable to communities nationwide,” city officials wrote in their application for selection as a test community, a project they have dubbed Google Island.
City officials said Alameda’s compact size, flat terrain and temperate climate would make us an ideal choice for building a new fiber network. And they said Alameda has the right number of residents and a good selection of institutional users, including Alameda Hospital, the College of Alameda, the Alameda Unified School District, the Alameda Free Library and City Hall.
They also touted Alameda’s locally owned utility and the city’s ownership of power poles, and other infrastructure and almost all of the city’s public rights of way as assets. And they said the city will be an easy place for Google to set up shop, saying the city would offer one-stop and even online permitting and room for negotiation on fees.
“They don’t have to negotiate with a bunch of entities for access,” said Deputy City Manager Jennifer Ott, who has been designated as the city’s point of contact for the Google application.
Both the City Council and the Board of Education have endorsed the project, and the city has set up a streamlining task force to further speed things along.
The city’s application builds on earlier efforts put forth by a group of local residents who formed WireAlameda, which forwarded individual responses to Google. They said their website got about 1,500 visits, and about half that number clicked over to Google’s application page.
The group touted Alameda’s diverse population of residents – socially, economically and ethnically – and residences, large and small tech businesses and proximity to Google’s Mountain View HQ as some of the reasons to choose the Island for its experiment.
David Howard, a local resident who has experience working with Internet access equipment vendors, said he also worked with city officials to help fine-tune their pitch. Howard also contributed a Google map laying out businesses and institutions here that could make use of the speedy Internet access Google is offering.
Company officials will now review the responses, and as they narrow down the choices, they will conduct site visits, meet with city officials and consult with third party organizations before naming the company’s target community or communities, which they hope to do by the end of this year.
Google put out the call for communities interested in hosting their planned ultra-high speed fiber-to-the-home experiment, which they said would be 100 times faster than what’s available now, on February 10. They said they are seeking to provide service to between 50,000 and 500,000 people both to test out new ways of using the Internet and of building a network.
During the six weeks Google accepted applications, residents of one city created a giant Google logo out of glow sticks, one city’s mayor jumped in a shark tank and other cities offered to rename themselves. And Google’s offer generated a wealth of wacky YouTube videos (I particularly liked this one).