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Honda of Ithaca - 2010
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Google Fiber In Tompkins County
Tompkins County as a Technological Testbed?
mjb262@cornell.edu
| March 1, 2010
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[[font|size=4]] Google Fiber: The Future? [[end-font]] Imagine having a blazing fast internet connection that would allow for movies to be delivered instantly to your desktop and would make waiting for email attachments or web pages something of the past. That’s Google’s vision for the future of the internet, and to fulfill it, the company is looking for communities to build test networks. These connections, according to Google, would boast speeds of 1 Gigabite per second, more than 100 times faster and similarly priced to many households’ current high speed internet. Currently, Google is looking to build test bed network in a community with up to 500,000 people. With two large universities nearby, and a swatch of the region unconnected by high speed internet, Tompkins County could potentially be one of Google’s pilot regions. For Tompkins County, this could be a potential game changer that would put the region at the forefront of technological development. [[font|size=4]] Tompkins County As A Testbed: Weighing the Pros and Cons. [[end-font]] Google requires a “Request for Information,” or RFI, from each area that wishes to partake in the service. It is a large and detailed application, asking for everything from terrain measurements, to economic statistics to the cost of renting telephone pole space. Google is heavily weighing the RFI when making its decision. A Google spokesperson told WVBR: "We'll use responses to our RFI to help determine where building our network will have the greatest positive impact. We will connect at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people, in one or more trial communities across the country. The RFI is a first step – we plan to consult with local government organizations, as well as conduct site visits and meet with local officials, before announcing our final decisions." Eddie Rooker, 4th Ward Alderperson for the Ithaca City Council believes that Google Fiber could be of benefit to the area, but only if the region has a chance at winning the service. "If Ithaca was selected it would be a huge boost for the city but the application process is very time intensive," Rooker told WVBR, "It definitely makes sense to look into our chances of success before committing the necessary man hours.” One of the opportunities Rooker noted could improve the region’s chances is partnering with Cornell University. "This could be a great opportunity to partner with Cornell University," Rooker told WVBR, "Bringing this program to Ithaca would be mutually beneficial and if we work with university on this it would improve our chances greatly." [[font|size=4]] How Google Fiber Could Affect Your Wallet[[end-font]] A Google Spokesperson told WVBR that the cost to municipalities and its taxpayers would vary depending on the area. “Google will use its RFI to identify interested communities and to assess local factors that will impact the efficiency and speed of our deployment, such as the level of community support, local resources, weather conditions, approved construction methods and local regulatory issues,” according to a spokesperson. Google would not speculate on the cost of Fiber to Tompkins County. Google also told WVBR that the Fiber program will be exclusively for home use; small businesses will not be eligible. Google asserts that its Google Fiber program will allow consumers to have a vastly superior internet connection at competitive prices to current internet providers. Unfortunately Tompkins County’s major internet providers, Time Warner Cable and Lightlink, did not return calls for comment on Fiber.
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