Like the webinar today, I’m going to dive right in. The big topic was the Google Fiber Network opportunities. It was an interesting discussion. We heard from a range of panelists. Some seemed to speak directly to community members and leaders who might be planning to submit a proposal to Google. Some seemed to be speaking to public broadcasters about how they can use and join the broadband discussion.
Some quick takeaways:
- The Google opportunity is a long shot – but it’s an opportunity to start the broadband conversation locally
- The conversation needs to be local and should start with a compelling story
- A compelling story will lead to a vision – that vision will help you improve broadband in your community with or without Google
- Google is not hoping to become a provider; they are hoping to create a test bed and share their lessons with providers and communities
The webinar will soon be archived. In the meantime here are the notes from each presenter…
Info from Google representative, Minnie Ingersoll
Encourage innovation in US market
Create test bed for new killer apps
Develop & experiment with new ways to build fiber
Provide open access to the network
Not the goals:
Don’t’ want to become a national ISP
Not giving it away from free
Not getting funding from local gov or other gov
Who should apply?
But treat this as a statement of interest – don’t invest too much time
What do we want?
Interested in city support (not financing – but open mind)
Proximity to backhaul
Interested in residents and institutions more than businesses at this point
Q: Could a state apply?
A: Yes, but we’d need to focus on parts of the state
Q: Can a city apply for itself and be part of a county application?
Q: Folks in Duluth want to know who Google will gauge public support?
A: the RFI asks applicant to tell us about the city support. We also keep tabs for resident responses. And we listen to Facebook and other places online.
Q: Could we create a neighborhood collective?
Q: Are you looking for underserved areas and demographics?
A: Yes but we are looking to work with multiple locations. So we can get a variety in multiple place – not required in one.
Q: Are reservations viable applicants when it probably won’t be a quick deployment?
A: Yes because the benefits might override the potential difficulty such as distance from backhaul
Q: Will Google be done after this experiment?
A: Our long term goal is not to build more communities but to share what we learn in the process. We want to see speeds go up and costs go down.
Q: How important is partnership?
A: We are very open to partnerships.
Q: Will there be opportunities for organizations to work on content?
Q: What will happen to fiber once program is done.
A: We’ll have to work with individual communities on the answer to that question. But Google does have a long term interest.
Q: What do think/want this program to look like in 2 years?
A; That we’ve been able to build great applications and services in the community. And that we’ve been able to experiment with cutting edge deployment strategies – and share that info with everyone. That we can see openness in the US
Q: Are you more likely to choose communities with lower cost construction?
A: We’d like to have this down quickly. Maybe that means access to telephone poles; maybe that means good right-of-way access.
Joanne Hovis, president of Columbia Telecommunications Corporation
We think Google’s move here is important. The technology is great – it will bring us up to international standards.
Working with local community members leads to greater success. You need to listen to the community to recognize what will means success to them – and to develop a recipe for success.
If you are interested in the Google Network, it makes sense to work with local government. This is a long shot for all of us. Thousands of communities will apply.
- Google has not set out particular criteria, which leaves the door open for any community to share their vision.
- Google is trying to raise the discussion in Washington; they want Washington to recognize the super high speed networks are viable and affordable. Local media has a role to play in starting/sustaining that conversation.
Q: Would a community with an existing NTIA grant be appealing to Google or not?
A: They seem to be open. If NTIA was interested then that probably demonstrated real interest in your community – an interest that Google would also appreciate.
Q: I’m a public media station. I want to support my local community? Can I find out who the players are in my community?
A: Call the local government.
Marnie Webb TechSoup Global
We have been looking at community-based solutions. We work with nonprofits that work with the people in a community who need support adopting broadband. Broadband can make a big difference in a community.
Q: How are nonprofits using broadband?
A: Workforce training. Libraries can extend access – such as libraries providing wifi – at all hours.
Bernadine Joselyn from Blandin Foundation
Blandin cares about broadband because we recognize that communities need it and needs to be able to use it. Broadband is a necessity – access denied is opportunity denied.
What does it take for a community to make the most of broadband? Local leadership is key – and Google’s network is an opportunity to try that out.
- Communities have to do it themselves. You can’t count on someone else such as a provider or elected official.
- You can’t do it alone! Aggregation is a positive strategy. The more and more diverse voices the better.
- You need to be able to tell a compelling story! A good story will get buy in. A shared consensus on the story makes writing an application much easier. Creating a story for a grant application is difficult and rarely successful. But once you have the story in place.
- Money follows vision!
So get your core team and create your story. Google is a long shot but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to get people focused.
Q: The chance for getting the Google funds are slim. What can we do even if we don’t get the funding?
A: In rural areas, communities are often not aware of what they have or what they need. Getting to know your ecosystem –in terms of wants, needs and haves is a big step forward. If you can do the research for the local providers to help build a business case that will help start a conversation.
Joaquin Alvarado, SVP of Digital Innovation for American Public Media
The Google network is innovative – because it’s fast. The conversation today in the US as far as speeds go has not changed significantly in the last 10 years – but Google has started the dialog about the Gig!
Real time reporting – such as seen in Iran via YouTube is one example of how broadband has an impact on public media. Public media can use broadband to engage “listeners” in new ways.
If you’re not talking to local people about broadband you’re not doing your job as a public broadcaster. As a public broadcaster, we are an anchor tenant for conversation.
Q: What are new things we can do with broadband?
A: Podcasting is one simple example. We have to think of ourselves as broadband companies. Also we need to build collaborations with the community. We need to go further. There’s a huge untapped market in gaming. We could be using that opportunity in terms of science conversations or other.
Q: Can you tell me more about the value of gaming?
A: Anyone who wonders about what role gaming can play is 6 years behind the research. Games can be used to teach and explore complicate issues. American Universities are looking into gaming. Through games people can role play, can try out new scenarios.
Q: What is the National Public Light Path project?
Q: What are the demographics of gamers?
A: American over the age of 55 are the biggest growing demographic.
Q: What can a public broadcaster do?
A: Stations need to find out what’s going on in their communities and get involved in the Google application if possible.