Commentary

Google's Ultra-High-Speed Fiber Network Will Boost Cloud Computing

high speed

Pitches have started rolling in to Google to secure a place on the list of cities where the company will build and test fiber-to-the-home Web service. The search engine announced the Google Fiber project in February. Now city officials and residents have gone gaga for Google, but the real winner could become Google -- and businesses offering PC and mobile applications through cloud computing.

The winning cities would get Google fiber to the home, with speed up to 1Gigabit per second for between 50,000 and 500,000 people. The Internet connections, up to 100 times faster than many have access to today, would allow people to tap into a host of cutting-edge applications not yet accessible to all.

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Google plans to offer the Internet access at "competitive" prices and share open access networks with other service providers. In open access networks, users can choose multiple service providers. The platform will let people run next-generation applications in ultra high speeds from the clouds. This means they won't need the application on their PC or mobile device to run sophisticated applications remotely.

Most tech experts would agree that the lack of high-speed Internet access has hindered cloud computing -- everything from streaming high-definition movie rentals to the adoption of Google Docs. Fiber to the home could turn into fiber to the office, which would spur new businesses, such as renting sophisticated software by the hour from any home office or business computer. The vision of a-pay-as you-go model that supports those who can't afford or don't want to purchase the entire software package reminds me of my conversation with Joseph Rosenbaum, a Reed Smith partner, who chairs the firm's global Advertising Technology & Media Law practice.

Through March 26th, Google will accept information about communities through a Request for information (RFI), which they'll use to determine where to build the network. The application provides space for a link to YouTube videos, which are "encouraged" to accompany submissions.

A variety of cities have applied, some upping their visibility with promotional efforts. There's Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., or rather Rancho Googlemonga, along with Glendale, Calif.; Baltimore; Saratoga, Fla.; and Greensboro, N.C.

While officials in Topeka, Kansas are willing to rename the city "Google, Kansas" for one month (PCWorld points to the proclamation by Mayor Bill Bunten), a parody from the city of Duluth, Minn., encourages every first-born male or female living in the city to take the name "Google (or Googlette, depending on gender) Fiber."

Companies within those cities have been vying on the community's behalf, too. Marty Weintraub, co-founder of Duluth-based aimClear, a company offering SEO services, makes the plea in a Dear Google Fiber letter and a blog post, the first in a several-part series explaining how the city has attracted high-tech companies and tourism. He shares photos and even some music he and some buddies wrote to exemplify the city's atmosphere.

Google might also consider the cities that have already moved to Google Doc, such as Los Angeles. So where's L.A.'s YouTube video vying for a piece of the pipeline? Or better yet, build it in Huntington Beach, Calif., where I live.

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