Have you heard about Google, Kansas?
Topeka, Kansas is changing its name to "Google, Kansas" for a month. Why? The city is trying to draw the attention of the search engine giant and put Topeka in the running to be one of Google's test markets for high-speed internet.
Topeka's Mayor issued this proclamation: www.topeka.org/pdfs/GoogleProclamation.pdf
The frenzy began when Google announced it would pick at least one city as a test market for high speed, fiber optic cable internet. The company says the new network would be 100 times faster than what most current services provide - fast enough to allow you to download a full-length movie in less than five minutes.
Google says an experimental network would provide internet service of up to one Gigabit per second.
So, is St. Louis getting in on this?
Mayor Francis Slay says yes.
The city is putting together a proposal - enlisting the help of a his Vanguard Cabinet (a young professional group in the city) to drum up ideas to blow the folks at Google away.
While Google has not listed specific requirements for their ideal test market, many believe the most creative applications will make the short list.
This week, Mayor Francis Slay's website is hosting an unscientific poll on whether people in St. Louis would support a gimmick similar to Topeka's. You can vote here through next Thursday: www.mayorslay.com/polls/20100304google.php
Here's what Google says about the experiment: www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/
You can nominate your community here: www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/public/options
St. Louis City launched a Facebook fan page today: www.facebook.com/pages/St-Louis-wants-Google-Fiber/303378647364#!/pages/Google-Fiber-for-St-Louis/339508551661
The deadline for cities to apply is March 26th. Google says it will pick its test market (or markets) sometime this year.
Google is a little vague on some of the details.
It's unclear whether a city will be asked to invest money in the experiment's infrastructure. At this point, Google isn't asking any municipalities to make any financial commitments.
Google also says its looking to provide this high-speed internet to at least 50,000 people, but could also offer the service to up to 500,000 customers.
The company says the web service will be competitively priced, though it's unclear exactly what it would cost the average user.
St. Louis wants your ideas.
If you want to participate in the application process, email the city here: STLwantsFiber@gmail.com