The Triangle is one of nine metropolitan areas where Google is considering expanding its high-speed Internet and TV service known as Google Fiber.
Over the next several months, the company expects to do topography and infrastructure studies and hold planning conversations with local officials to determine whether the Triangle is suited for its network. Google’s fiber optic network offers residential customers 1 gigabit-per-second Internet service, which is nearly 100 times faster than most broadband connections in the United States.
“By the end of the year, we hope to provide an update on which cities we will be bringing Google Fiber to,” said Kevin Lo, general manager for Google Fiber.
Google Fiber could be coming to the Triangle, and executives are excited about what the news could mean – both for their businesses, their households and their communities.
So I suggested they share their thoughts on what Google Fiber would mean to the Triangle. They were happy to oblige:
Scot Wingo, CEO of Morrisville-based ChannelAdvisor (NYSE: ECOM):
“Faster speed and more choices are a rising tide for all internet applications, including ecommerce.”
Machelle Sanders, RTP-based vice president and general manager of Weston, Mass.-based Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB):
“While it sounds like a decision is still a ways off, it’s exciting to consider the possibilities that could come from bringing this technology to our region. This kind of development attracts the kinds of people that are going to drive the innovation economy here in the Triangle, and we definitely have the kind of community that would be able to leverage the opportunities that the Google technology could bring.”
Open data, open access and open source.
That’s the scope of the Open Raleigh initiative, currently under way in the City of Raleigh, N.C. The concerted effort aims to improve citizens’ ability to tap government data, sharpen city officials’ decision-making, promote open-source technology and increase high-speed Internet access.
The city council’s 2012 open government resolution provided the impetus for Open Raleigh, which is slated to expand this year. Gail Roper, Raleigh’s chief information officer, said the plan is consistent with the city’s overall push for greater transparency.
The effort got another lift recently through its collaboration with Code for America, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that places developers with local governments through its fellowship program. “The start of our Code for America initiative here helped us to be a little bit more strategic in terms of our effort to move forward,” Roper said.
It’s well known among area entrepreneurs that something big is happening in the Triangle. And increasingly, people outside of startup circles understand, perhaps more vaguely, that good things are brewing.
Two recent developments underlined the potential and excitement — one of them being the proverbial ‘front page news’ and both of them tied to an essential ingredient of entrepreneurial success: connectivity.
Last week, Google announced it will engage with seven Triangle metros, including Durham and Raleigh, to see whether it can bring Fiber here. The service delivers internet connectivity at a fantastically fast rate. High-speed fiber is exciting and important not just for tech start-ups, but for anyone with an idea and a need to connect to the rest of the world to see it through.
The push for stronger fiber networks is happening already in the Triangle.
In Holly Springs, a crew is boring a small tunnel for a new town-funded fiber-optic network. Across the region, municipalities and universities are laying the groundwork for a regional high-speed network.
While these efforts haven’t brought new competition to the area’s high-speed Internet market, these government-backed efforts show that any new Internet provider likely will find friendly hosts in North Carolina.
The N.C. Next Generation Network is an alliance of municipalities and schools that includes Raleigh, Cary, Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Durham, Winston Salem, UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke University, N.C. State University and Wake Forest University.
The group is jointly negotiating with eight private companies that are interested in bringing high-speed network service to the area. Together, the members are offering access to their existing cables, conduits and data centers, which could become part of a new cable network.
Google Inc. announced Wednesday that seven cities in the Triangle, including Durham and Chapel Hill, are in the running for a possible new fiber-optic network that would mean Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than basic broadband speeds.
The company invited 34 communities in nine metro areas in the United States to jointly explore “what it would take to build a new fiber-optic network,” according to information posted on the website https://fiber.google.com/newcities/.
The North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN) network has been awarded the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) 2013 Community Broadband Project of the Year. The honor is awarded annually to innovative projects that “champion local interests and needs in broadband and technology.”
“On behalf of the 6 municipalities and 4 universities involved in this effort, we are honored by this recognition from NATOA,” said Bill Stice, Vice-Chair of the NCNGN Steering Committee and Technology Services Director for the Town of Cary. “Our communities have a long tradition of collaborating across jurisdictional boundaries to serve the greater good, and I believe that cooperative spirit will help us address obstacles that we may face as our process continues and we try to improve the broadband services available to our citizens.”
“Several North Carolina cities and universities including Winston-Salem and Wake Forest University are making progress on an effort to bring ultra-high-speed broadband to their communities, but the work is coming along more slowly than originally hoped.”
Article on submissions to RFP that were due April 1. “The review of responses has just begun, but the backers seeking to create a Google Fiber-like high-speed network across the Triangle and parts of the Triad are certainly pleased with what they have seen so far.”