Wooing Google – Cities begin courtship
The news that Google might be interested in bringing its fiber service to the Metro Atlanta area is setting local hearts aflutter.
Mayors of two of the cities on Google’s list already are getting to know the company better. During the Feb. 24 Avondale Estates City Commission meeting, Mayor Ed Rieker said he’d met with company reps that day.
“That will be not an overnight endeavor because all the other cities will be collecting data,” Rieker said. “I think of it in terms of maybe a year-long project. It’s going to take a little bit longer than most things, I guess.”
During the March 3 Decatur City Commission meeting, Mayor Jim Baskett said he would soon meet with Google’s southeast director for public affairs.
Lena Stevens, the Decatur’s resource conservation coordinator, has been named the city’s project lead. Stevens gave commissioners an update during their meeting. She said Decatur and Avondale Estates aren’t in competition with the other cities Google has listed as potential recipients of the new fiber service.
“We’re not in competition with those other nine cities,” she said. “They’re looking for us to collaborate. We’re looking to have weekly calls (with the other cities).”
But will Google require all cities to be ready before moving forward? That part of it wasn’t clear at the meeting. City Manager Peggy Merriss said, “They’re not going to start a build out until all the nine partners are ready to go.”
Stevens said Google, “Might move forward with some of the smaller communities first” if those communities are ready before the others.
Stevens said Decatur will also have an internal team that will be meeting weekly to discuss the Google Fiber project.
“We’re going to work with Google over the next few months, they have a checklist, (to see) how efficient and fast can we do the build out. They’re looking at us to evaluate our processes,” Stevens said.
She said the benefits to having Google Fiber include having internet service that’s 100 times faster than typical broadband speeds and having symmetrical upload/download rates. Under the standard broadband model, cable companies cap the upload speed at a rate that’s far lower than the download speed. Stevens said in her case, she can download data at 34 megabits per second, but can only upload at 10 megabits per second.