City of Hood River gets in hunt for Google broadband trial

24 Feb

Imagine a data pipe with about 100 times the capacity of what now feeds Internet content to your computer. Now, imagine it in Hood River. OK, now imagine every community in the country saying “Me, Me, Me, Pick me, puh-leeze, Mr. Google, pick Me!”

The City of Hood River — by way of city council vote — agreed to join the throngs rushing Google for a chance to pilot a proposed 1 gigabit fiber optic network. How much is 1 gigabit? Technically speaking, that’s a whole friggin’ pantload of gigas and bits. Like Kibbles & Bits, only different.

Dave Russell, who works for Summit Projects, told the council about the request for information at Monday night’s meeting. He articulated some of his visions for how such a huge data pipe could benefit the local economy. I found myself lying awake later that night, imagining my own apps. We now have no car dealership. Imagine a place where you could take a virtual tour of any car you wanted, in a surround screen environment? Imagine medical apps — remote diagnosis, for instance. Imagine education apps — college course content and real-time group collaboration — with everyone scattered miles apart, linked through their computer’s web cam.

Here’s a clip from the Google web site:

Google Fiber for Communities

Google is planning to launch an experiment that we hope will make Internet access better and faster for everyone. We plan to test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. Our networks will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today, over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

From now until March 26th, we’re asking interested municipalities to provide us with information about their communities through a Request for information (RFI), which we’ll use to determine where to build our network.

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