Garcia and Google: Could ultra high-speed broadband zip into Long Beach
2010-02-16 · By Barbara Holbrook
Imagine downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates in Tokyo while watching live 3-D video of a Cal State Long Beach University lecture. This is the world of Google. And if Robert Garcia’s motion succeeds it could be the world of Long Beach, too.
Last week Google announced plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks. The “experiment” will bring 1GB broadband Internet service to a small number of trial locations across the United States. First District Councilmember Robert Garcia would like to see Long Beach be one of those cities.
“This is an opportunity for Long Beach to provide faster Internet service to more residents, help close the digital divide, and raise our city’s profile” Councilmember Garcia said. “I am committed to making Long Beach a technology leader.”
Google has issued a request for information (RFI) to help identify communities interested in participating in the broadband experiment. Local governments as well as members of the public are encouraged to respond.
To start the process, Councilmember Garcia has introduced a motion for the February 16 City Council meeting. The motion is co-sponsored by Councilmember Dee Andrews and Vice Mayor Val Lerch. (Update! The Council approved the motion and Long Beach will apply for Google’s broadband experiment.)
The goal of the broadband experiment, which the search giant vows to offer at a competitive price, is to find new ways to make Internet access better and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that Google hopes to learn:
- Next generation apps: What will developers and users do with ultra high-speeds? New apps? New services? Or, something we can’t yet imagine.
- New deployment techniques: Test new ways to build fiber networks and share key lessons learned with the world.
- Openness and choice: Operate an “open access” network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. Manage the network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
“Like our WiFi network in Mountain View, the purpose of this project is to experiment and learn. Network providers are making real progress to expand and improve high-speed Internet access, but there’s still more to be done,” announced Google via a blog post last Wednesday.
Currently, although residents of the Los Angeles metropolitan area enjoy higher levels of Internet access than the national average, many Long Beach residents lack efficient Internet access at home, and the percentage of residents without Internet increases as income decreases.
“Long Beach needs to be a technology leader,” said Garcia. “This is one simple step we can take to help make that a reality.”
Applications for the Google system are available online, and must be completed by March 26. Although only government officials can respond to the RFI, residents can participate by nominating their community for the fiber optic trial. In addition to answering a few questions about their current Internet service, residents and community groups are encouraged to submit “creative” supporting material such as YouTube videos or slideshow presentations (hint: use Google Docs).
(If you submit something, leave a link to your video, presentation, etc. in the comments section!)