Knoxville to vie for Google test site

City one of many trying to get ultra-fast Internet

Knoxville wants to be a Google city, but is Mayor Bill Haslam willing to peel down to his T-shirt and shorts and jump in Fort Loudoun Lake to make it happen?

The city plans to submit a proposal to Google Inc. in hope of becoming a test site for its ultra-fast Internet system. Cities across the country are hotly competing to be one of Google's preferred towns, and the Internet company is encouraging them to make bold, creative statements as to why they are deserving.

The mayor of Duluth, Minn., recently donned a T-shirt and shorts before jumping into frigid Lake Superior to make his pitch. A more important part of the selection process is the number of nominations cities receive.

"We'd love to be one of the trial locations selected and would encourage people to nominate the city," City of Knoxville spokesman Randy Kenner said.

Kenner said the city is working with Knoxville Utilities Board, the Metropolitan Planning Commission, and other municipal departments to bring the Google fiber network to Knoxville.

According to Google, its networks provide Internet speeds more than 100 times faster (over 1 gigabit per second) than conventional broadband connections.

Interested municipalities have until March 26 to submit an application. Residents can nominate Knoxville by registering for a Google e-mail account, which is free.

Google said its fiber optics-to-the-home connections, an expense that could cost municipalities millions of dollars if they installed the fiber optics network, will offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

The City of Knoxville is making its intentions to be a Google city known on its Web site, where it is asking residents to fill out the nominations on the search site's Web page.

KUB's involvement with the effort is to help the city with parts of the application that would involve information on KUB operations, said Grace Whiteside, KUB spokeswoman. This would include such things as the number of utility poles available, certain construction information and other technical information. Whiteside said it is too early to know details of how KUB would be involved in implementing the fiber network or what costs would result, but said KUB is pleased to be partnering with the city on the effort.

Mark Donaldson, MPC executive director, said the only project he is aware of that MPC is working on involving Google is one to help Knox Area Transit use Google as part of a routing project for its buses.

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Comments » 1

asdf (Inactive) writes:

ATT and Comcast have invested way to much bribe... I mean political contribution money for deregulation in TN to ever allow this to happen. BTW what happened to the lower consumer prices promised as part of that deal?

Competition is bad for the would realize this had you not missed the free coolaide being served at the hearings.

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