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Dancing for Google.

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Mar. 17th, 2010 | 01:22 pm
mood: okayokay
music: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - Bottled In Cork | Powered by Last.fm

Those who yell the loudest have had the most voice training?

I'm really turned off by Google's request for places to be the testbed for a new fiber optic network, and especially by all of the places in the U.S. jockeying to be that testbed. I've turned down all Facebook group and other invites to be a part of convincing Google that this or that place is the ideal location. In general, the places that most need faster and more reliable internet access aren't likely to have the showiest response in this competition; local governments don't have the staff time, money, or political capital to mount a response, even if they want to. I'd much rather this experiment be taken directly to the folks with the least cyberinfrastructure, to attempt to catch them up to where the Ann Arbors and Durhams already are. But Google is looking for a level of existing broadband access that these (mostly rural) places don't have and aren't likely to get.

Aside from that, this is a good showing of how powerful Google has really gotten. Deep into a really serious economic downturn, they've got gobs of money and the influence to throw it around. I don't think it's bad for them to invest in infrastructure and hire folks, of course, but it's pretty clear that equity isn't going to be a part of this work; it's about building more for those who already have quite a lot. I know and appreciate the investment in innovation here, but it will deepen already wide discrepancies between haves and have-nots. I could be wrong, and would be happily surprised to be, but it seems doubtful.

This is probably not a popular opinion, and that's fine. I'm willing to be swayed and am in fact curious to talk to folks that are supporting this initiative. Your comments?

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Comments {2}


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from: fousheezy
date: Mar. 18th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)

Hm, that is a very enlightened perspective. When I saw the offer, the first thing I thought was "Finally! A legit way to break Time Warner Cable's monopoly!!" I am so tired of being abused by TWC's awful service and constantly rising prices without any other realistic place to turn!

That said, I do appreciate that google has a chance to open up a huge new market by investing in rural areas. I like the idea. At the same time, if google does come in and present a competitive influence on the telecom monopolies, those companies will be forced to seek new markets by building out into the country and finding new people there. Either way, I think the rural people will probably get a hookup down the road :)

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from: silverthief2
date: Mar. 18th, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)

Totally. I could say the same for our Comcast "service" here. I'd love for the trickle down to rural places to occur, and probably it will eventually, but at this point I'm just wondering how long it will take.

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