Monday, March 15, 2010

Support Champaign-Urbana's efforts to wire the town with fiber!

Please go online and become fans of Champaign-Urbana's bid to be a test case for google fiber!

Below is an email I received about the application:

Dear Big Broadband Enthusiasts,

Assuming that things go well with both City Councils for the UC2B Infrastructure grant, the next Big Broadband-related item on our collective plates will be the Google Fiber application for Champaign, Urbana, Savoy and small parts of Champaign County. I have attached an Excel spreadsheet that contains the entire application, and have broken down some of the questions into four parts where appropriate to cover the four units of government involved.

Google is looking for municipalities where they can come in and quickly build a fiber-to-the-home network and is looking for a single point of contact to for all dealings with the local community. If we were a single city, that would be simple enough, but with two cities, one village, one University and one county involved; this will take extraordinary cooperation and trust. For the time being I am nominating myself to be that single point of contact. Over the next several months, I hope that the University will assign a project manager to lead and coordinate the construction effort on the behalf of the Intergovernmental Consortium. If that comes to pass, that person would be the logical future contact for Google, but I am getting ahead of myself.

Between now and March 26th we need to come up with answers to all 294 blanks on this spreadsheet. Some of the answers can be culled from the 2008 supplemental census. Some of the answers can be provided by city staff who work in community development. Some answers may be pulled from the County's GIS system. Some may come from the EDC or the Chamber. Six of the question will require expanded narratives (111, 114, 115, 118, 119 and 120) and it is my hope that many of you will individually provide inspired answers to those essay questions that can be edited together into a powerful and persuasive story. With the NTIA-funded infrastructure as a base, I believe that if we effectively tell the story of our community that we will be very attractive to Google.

I know that some of you are literally burning the midnight oil this evening preparing the Round Two BTOP applications for Public Computing Centers and Sustainable Broadband Adoption that are due at NTIA tomorrow. I know that the last thing you will want to think about for a while is Broadband, but I hope that by a week from now that your personal batteries will be recharged and that you can give some thought to those 6 essay questions.

As we flesh out more and more of this application, I will set up a NetFiles directory and send out a link so that you can always see where things are at. Eventually everything has to be submitted on-line, but that should simply be a copy and pasting session on the 26th.

Any answers on the spreadsheet now are simply suggestions or placeholders. If you see things that you can answer authoritatively (or eloquently in the case of the essay questions) send me your answers via email. The blanks are all numbered so they should be easy to keep straight. I will start a Word file for each of the essay questions.

Neither the County nor Savoy were directly involved in the NTIA application, but for the Google application to be successful, there are answers to some of these questions that only they can provide. The service area we will be suggesting to Google will be the same 49 square mile area that we proposed to NTIA and is indicated in blue on the attached map. I have also included a PDF file of Google's instructions and explanations. Google has a FAQ about this project that may answer questions you have. It can be found at:

If you have not visited yet, please do and watch the Google Fiber video and take a few minutes and nominate our community to Google. If you are a Facebook user, you can become a "fan" of the local Google Fiber effort. It would be good to be able to tell Google that we have thousands of fans by the 26th, so please forward this link onto your friends As of this evening we are up to 175 fans and counting.

Because Google will be paying for 100% of this project, there will be tens of thousands of applications. What we proposed to NTIA is very very close to what Google says it wants to do. We are on the same page with their goals and technical ideas. If we do a half-way decent job of providing our data and telling our stories, we should advance to the short list of communities they follow up with. Any community will be along shot for the investment, because Google has not yet totally decided on exactly what they want in a partner community. We can hopefully set the bar fairly high.

I hope to see many of you at the Champaign City Council meeting this Tuesday. There will be a study session with broadband consultant Doug Dawson at 7:00, followed by a regular council session where the Council is expected to vote on accepting the grant and funding their portion of the local match. Urbana's Council is expected to vote on the 22nd.

Thanks in advance for your help.


1 comment:

Stephen said...

Aren't you in Australia right now?