A2 Fiber: Ann Arbor joins gold rush for Google fiber project
It’s a modern-day gold rush, except the prize is high-speed access to information.
Communities throughout the U.S. are mobilizing to respond to Google’s request for applications from cities hoping to secure a fiber optic network capable of Internet speeds 100 times faster than commercially available service.
File photo | AnnArbor.com
The “A2 Fiber” campaign continues at 7 p.m. Monday, when Ann Arbor City Council plans to hold a public hearing for residents to “help us tell Google why Ann Arbor is the perfect fit.”
Google is getting besieged with interest. The city of East Lansing, for example, isn’t hesitating to point out that Google co-founder Larry Page is an East Lansing High School graduate.
Page, of course, is also a 1995 U-M engineering grad, and he’s known to speak occasionally with U-M President Mary Sue Coleman. In fact, conversations between Page and Coleman led directly to Google’s decision to launch a sales operation in downtown Ann Arbor in 2006.
Will Coleman make a call to Page? A university spokeswoman wouldn’t comment.
The university, however, has thrown the full force of its marketing power behind the “A2 Fiber” campaign, encouraging residents to visit A2Fiber.com, follow the initiative on Twitter and Facebook and sign up for e-mail alerts.
“I believe the university is 100 percent behind the application,” Ann Arbor City Council member Christopher Taylor said. “They have worked hand in glove with the city.”
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For its part, Google said it would favor communities that stand out as places where Web activities and companies would flourish as a result of vastly improved Internet access.
Derek Mehraban, owner of Ann Arbor-based Ingenex Digital Marketing, believes Ann Arbor fits that description.
“Ann Arbor has such a vibrant tech community. Just the density of programmers, developers, people that really work every day on the Internet, I think, makes us unique,” he said. “Plus, the whole fact that Ann Arbor is reinventing itself and helping to reinvent the state of Michigan as a technology, startup community. There’s a lot of exciting things that would happen from the Google fiber.”
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