| Follow Us:

Innovation & Job News

BmoreFiber needs your help in bid to bring $1B Google project to city

Imagine being able to download an HD movie or other large file in just a few minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3D video of a university lecture. Those are just a few possibilities available to communities with universal ultra high-speed internet access, according to Google.

That's why, on Feb. 10, Google announced plans to build ultra-high speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the country. The search giant's plan is to invest a few billion dollars to bring a few lucky communities with a fiber-to-the-home broadband network that offer speeds of one gigabit per second. The network would be competitively priced to at least 50,000, and potentially up to 500,000 people.

This connection would be 2,000% faster than the fastest connection currently available to Baltimore residents, according to BmoreFiber, the recently formed group trying to win the service for Baltimore.

BmoreFiber,  a conglomeration, of local leaders, tech companies and business owners, wants to show Google that Baltimore is a city replete with creative types who would be able to take full advantage of super fast broadband network.

"We expect the level of investment to be about $1 billion dollars and that's hard to turn down. I don't care what the investment is. It's something we'd love to see happen here in Baltimore," says David Troy, CEO of Roundhouse Technologies, founder of Beehive Baltimore, and BmoreFiber spokesperson.

"We have a burgeoning technical community in terms of tech startups. It's an opportunity to make a difference with the digital divide and that sort of thing. We offer a lot of diversity and opportunity for a business like Google," he continues.

However, the group needs the help of every citizen in Baltimore. They need everyone who would also like to see the Google project come here to vote for Baltimore by logging in their location and then filling out a short questionnaire about their current Internet service.

Google is asking local governments and residents to express their interest in the fiber optic trial, and to provide information about their community by completing a request for information by March 26, 2010.

"Part of this is that [Google] is trying to use these early implementations as a test market for learning the lessons that would be required to do this in other places. What we need to show is that if they came here people would be interested in it and sign up for services."

The second thing the Baltimore community needs to do, according to Troy, is show that we have a "representative climate," and that Google would be able to learn a broad number of lessons about physical infrastructure, dealing with digital divide issues, and what it takes to make businesses happy. "[We want to offer them] a nice test lab," he adds.

Historically, Baltimore has been a pretty good test market for a variety of technologies. "We're our own media market. We have a diversity of socio-economic classes represented and its a relatively low cost place to do something," explains Troy.

The win for Baltimore is that businesses would see the service as a plus when considering Baltimore.

"We are always looking for opportunities to distinguish Baltimore City from its competition," says Andrew Frank, deputy mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development. "We need to find new and build on existing strengths that retain and attract residents and businesses. The Google high speed Internet opportunity would achieve those goals. Also, as a technology gadget aficionado, the Mayor gets that having access to the latest technology can influence the choices that residents and businesses make."

But, whether Google choses the city or not, Troy says its win-win for Baltimore either way.

"What's the worst that can happen, we are up against some pretty sitff competition with cities like Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. all which I'm sure have good stories about why they'd be good for this as well. It's not clear how many cities Google will do this in. It could 1, 5 or 10, we just don't know yet. Even if this doesn't come through, aligning stakeholders around that cause is a good exercise and gives us something to rally behind going forward. There might also be other funds out there -- stimulus money or other kinds of investment -- that we can repurpose some of this work for."

Follow BmoreFiber on Twitter or join their mailing list.

Sources: Dave Troy, BmoreFiber; Andrew Frank, City of Baltimore
Writer: Walaika Haskins

Signup for Email Alerts
Share this page
Signup for Email Alerts