Google fiber may be coming to Worcester county but it might not be to Worcester. Currently the competition is heating up as the March 26th deadline to apply looms closer. Shrewsbury has put in a strong showing in the past couple of weeks adding a slew of videos to their TownofShrewsbury channel on Youtube. The City of Worcester has gained some momentum with it’s Google Maps approach but I have to say when comparing video is a much better medium.
Some of you may not know what the Google Fiber initiative is. Google is offering to lay fiber to support high speed service to a certain communities. Though providing choice seems to be the focus of many of us when we first hear about this Google’s purpose is much greater. Google is trying to push not just the current providers but the FCC as well in the direction of providing this level of choice and speed across the US. They can’t do it themselves so they are hoping to show them through examples in the communities/cities/towns that they choose. So not only does the community need to be interested they need to be ready to show Google what they can do with this level of service. The benefits to this level of high speed span across residential, business, government, healthcare, higher education and public schools as well.
Interestingly enough Congressman McGovern seems to be siding with Shrewsbury since he is on one of the videos supporting their town. Maybe siding is too strong a word since it is not clear whether Google would pick more than one location in a state. Shrewsbury makes a good case because of their high rate of internet adoption and its small size. Google though does mention in its announcement that they are looking for a community of at least 50,000. At last count I think Shrewsbury was around 32000.
Worcester at around 175000 residents would at least be big enough but their adoption of the internet is not be as high as Shrewsbury. The demographic mix of Worcester would make for a very good test case since Worcester has such a great mix of higher education institutions, hospitals, businesses, cultural organizations and an active online community. The challenge of a larger geographic area like Worcester would be the ability to lay the fiber down. The City of Worcester officials need to demonstrate that they have the will and support to make this easy on Google. Brendan Melican makes a case on a recent Youtube video that the City of Worcester may have dark fiber ready to go in many areas. This would indeed make Worcester an even better candidate.
Whether you support Worcester’s application or Shrewsbury’s it is not too late to voice your support. I have laid out the links to all of the support initiatives I could find for both Worcester and Shrewsbury. As of this writing activity across the country and state has picked up as even Boston and Quincy have thrown their hats into the ring.
Let Google know why they should choose Worcester County(I’m not taking sides…)
Please let me know if I am missing something. It would be nice to see some of the Worcester politicians on video too…
Back in December Google decided to postpone the announcement/decision on which communities would be part of their Google Fiber experiment. They stated that there would be an announcement in early 2011. So far no announcement…