Courting Google

March 12, 2010

I’ve written here before about the high-speed Internet experiment that Google is planning, to supply fiber-based 1 Gbps service to somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 US residences.  I also posted a note about the gimmicks being used by some localities to try to get Google’s attention.

Now the “Epicenter” blog at Wired is reporting that the cities of Duluth and Superior, in Minnesota, have enlisted US Senator Al Franken in a YouTube video to promote their case.  (Incidentally, the article also reports that, following the lead of Topeka, er, Google, Kansas, the city of Sarasota FL has decided to be called “Google Island” for this month.)

As has been suggested before, Google may be using this project as a way to goad the entrenched telecom providers into upgrading their offerings:

Senator Franken jokes as he kowtows to Google in the above video, but he’s also dead serious about courting Google’s fiber optic connection. Also no laughing matter: competition in the ISP market is so weak that it takes an act of GOOG to move things forward.

Of course, we are supposed to hear about the FCC’s National Broadband Plan in a few days’ time.

Living here in Northern Virginia, in an area which has good broadband service, it is easy to joke about all this.  But I’m sure there are a lot of folks that hope that, if they don’t get picked by Google, the experiment will prod the existing providers into moving toward more modern offerings.


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