February 16, 2010 By Bill Schrier
The nation's e-mail and blogging and twitter engines worked overtime on Wednesday February 10th when Google announced its intent to fund ultra-high-speed Internet access for 50,000 to 500,000 people nationwide.
This ain't your grandma's "broadband" connection. And it ain't the 100-squared broadband envisioned by FCC Chair Julius Genachowski in a speech on Tuesday February 15th - 100-squared is 100 megabits per second to 100 million people by 2020 - a pretty bold vision in and of itself. Google wants to provide one gigabit (one billion bits or about 120 million bytes) per second to homes via fiber optic cable.
At a gigabit per second, a very high quality movie would download in 8 seconds flat, compared to an hour or more with a fast cable modem or DSL connection. Google published an RFI and is seeking responses from cities who want Google to come and build. The City of Seattle announced very quickly its intention to apply and jump on the bandwagon. Of course we have a visionary Mayor, Mike McGinn, who is publicly seeking, as a priority for his administration, to build a fiber network to every home and business in Seattle.
So what is Google trying to do here?