Sucking up to Google

March 30, 2010Jon Brooks Comments Off

In February, Google made an announcement:

We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people…

As a first step, today we’re putting out a request for information (RFI) to help identify interested communities. We welcome responses from local government, as well as members of the public. If you’d like to respond, visit this page to learn more, or check out our video:

Google Fiber may sound like a new breakfast cereal, but it triggered a manic, some might say desperate, response from cities eager to become the company’s broadband guinea pig. Rancho Cucamonga, California, for example, changed its name to Rancho Googlemonga. Greenville, South Carolina rounded up 2000 of its citizens, gave them LED Glow Sticks, and arranged them in the form of the Google logo.

Topeka, Kansas launched a sophisticated online campaign called Think Big Topeka and the not-so-sophisticated gesture of issuing a proclamation changing its name in March to Google, Kansas.

Not to be outdone, Duluth, Minnesota launched its own initiative including this video announcing that the city was changing the names of all first-born males to Google Fiber and first-born females to Googlette Fiber. In typical Minnesota nice fashion, Duluth Mayor Don Ness sandwiches the video with disclaimers that no offense to Topeka is intended.

Google didn’t tell Duluth to go jump in the lake, but Mayor Ness did it anyway, jumping into freezing Lake Superior in support of the city’s bid.

State and city finances are really hurting, so it’s understandable if perhaps a little depressing, why various communities would go so far to attract private sector largesse. One user comment on BoingBoing: “Considering Google’s finances, I’m surprised they’re not holding out for their own country. I’m sure Iceland would consider it.”

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