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Act before March 26 to get "Google Fiber for Communities" to Davis

In this article: 1) Google's announcement; 2) Nominate Davis; 3) Why Google Needs Davis; 4) Local media coverage; 5) Community meeting

1) Google's announcement:  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."

2) Nominate Davis: Click here for the online form


3) DCN's Endorsement Letter for City's Response to Google's Request for Information:


4) Why Google Needs Davis

by Steve McMahon
(also posted in

If you read the Davis Voice, either of the local newspapers, or City Council agendas lately, you’ve likely heard that folks in Davis are excited about the possibility of joining Google's ultra high speed Internet project. Google is planning to create a testbed for a fiber-optic to the home internet connections in one or more US communities with populations between 50,000 and 500,000.

Since Google's announcement, I've heard a lot of speculation about Davis' chances of being one of the lucky communities. I'm proud to say I've figured out some pretty accurate odds: one (or more) in 546. That's because there are roughly that many potentially qualified municipalities in the United States -- and every last one of them will have expressions of interest filed by the community or individuals in it.

"Wait," you say. "Aren't we among the best possible candidates? Aren't we smart, affluent, dense (geographically), and otherwise superior?" Of course we are, and better-looking, too. But, nobody outside Google really knows what Google's after. If they want an affluent, compact university town near Mountain View, well, Palo Alto's all that and has a lot of unused fiber leftover from earlier high-speed experiments. My point is that nearly every community’s got something they think will catch Google's eye: "we're rural," "we're urban," "we're diverse," "we're affluent," "we already have fiber," "we don't have any fiber, yet…."

So, what might set Davis apart, and — much more importantly — what might you want to say in your expression of interest that might improve our chances? Here are my talking points; feel free to grab ideas.

Google is all about collaborative content. They get into the hardware, licensing and cabling business to build opportunities for collaborative content. Google isn't looking to build ultra-high speed internet connections for a community just so everyone in the town may drop their cable-TV subscriptions and watch Netflix in high-def (though, likely everyone will). Google wants to see what kind of collaborative content people will invent given a dramatically better network to do it with.

As it happens, Davis has shown itself to be rather good at that kind of thing. is the best of its kind. The Davis Community Network is among the nation's long-lived community networks, and has been working at fostering collaborative content and connections for over 17 years. The Davis General Plan has a very far-sighted communications technology section that spells out our desire to be a testbed for new telecom technologies. The City of Davis spends roughly $600,000 per year on community media. We had a great city web site and were putting City Council meetings on the Internet long before many communities even knew it was possible. Our PTAs put up school websites for every school just about the day after we became the first community in Northern California to have non-university internet access. We had high-resolution, rectified aerial photos of our planning area on the Internet long before there was a Google Maps.

By all means, visit the Google Fiber for Communities site and nominate Davis. Get your organization to do the same. But, when you do, don't just say you want a fat pipe to your house so that you can watch high-def YouTube on five different computers simultaneously. Instead, say that you're part of a community that collaborates and that creates new media to do it. Tell Google a little about what we've done in the past and what wonderful things we could do in the future. Creating, not consuming. In short, tell them we’re like Google itself.

~ Steve McMahon is vice-president of the Davis Community Network and has served as the chair of the city's Telecommunications Task Force and initial chair of its Telecommunications Commission. He makes a living developing open-source web applications, and thinks we've barely begun to discover the potential of the Internet.

5) Local media coverage and related information on this topic:

6) Community meeting:

  • Date and Time: Wednesday, March 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
  • Place: Community Chambers, 23 Russell Blvd.


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