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Posted on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:36 p.m.

Ann Arbor 'mob' makes another case to attract Google Fiber

By Tina Reed


Hundreds of people make an "A" (which stands for Ann Arbor) while singing the "A2 Fiber anthem" in the University of Michigan Diag in Ann Arbor Friday.

Angela Cesere |

A few hundred Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County residents packed into the University of Michigan Diag in a "flash mob" on Friday afternoon in a bid to attract Google's attention.

Chanting "Ann Arbor Google Fiber, ain't Nothing any finer," in the central campus location, the crowd was looking to unite largely online interest and earn as much attention as possible for Ann Arbor's bid.

With the potential prize of becoming the first city to be tested with Google's fiberoptic network  - capable of Internet speeds 100 times faster than commercially available service - the competition between cities across the U.S. is fierce, community organizer Chad Wiebesick told the crowd.

"We're going to catapult Ann Arbor's fiber fight to the national level," he said.

In Ann Arbor, city officials, business executives, residents and University of Michigan leaders have resolved to bombard Google with requests related to the fiber optic competition.



Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

Like Anonymous Due to Bigotry I'm a little put off by 'advertising' for more of a Google presence. Yup, their products sure are helpful and more jobs and $$ would be good locally. But the Big Brother taint of Google's reach is off-putting. For a less rah-rah pro-Google perspective check this out:


Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

I'm excited about this. Not becaus I'm naive enuogh to think I'd need 1Gbps speeds, although for file transfers and gaming, it would be helpful to have a better connection. What I am excited about is that someone besides Comcast and AT&T would be in the area. I've had both Comcast and AT&T (including both DSL and UVerse Fiber) and they all are terrible. Comcast wouldn't even give me enough signal to both connect to the internet in one room and watch TV in the other over Cable (and don't get me started on the horror story of having to have them over 6 or 7 times, and STILL not getting it fixed). UVerse is ok, except for the fact that every few minutes, the line drops every few minutes for a split second. This can cause certain, but not all, types of internet connections problems. My point is that they offer low band width, bad connections, high prices, and terrible service, and there's no real competition, just a duopoly of mediocraty. Why is it that so many other nations can get there acts together and offer so much better service? Many countries are already regularly offering 100Mbs connections in their cities. Here we are only miles from one of the major hubs of the US internet (A2) and you're lucky to get 1.5Mbs... At least the people on the Diag were trying. I pose this question to the forum members here: What are you willing to do to get something better, besides complain and whine and put others down for making an effort? Comcast and AT&T are banking off of American complacency, and while we pretend like the US always has been and always will be the best nation on the Earth, other countries are passing us by on yet another technological front. Just think, if we had this kind of a connection here, wouldn't more businesses want to be located where they had more economically feasible access to it? Wouldn't this be a boost for our local economy? Wouldn't that bring in more jobs? Wouldn't a good chunk of the money to build it get pumped into SE Michigan? If you are arguing against this, are you really saying you're happy with the way things are? I'm not.

Anonymous Due to Bigotry

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 10:20 a.m.

Turning the town into a big Google ad is a bit disturbing.

Rob T

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 10:18 a.m.

First, on the tax and business side: Google is funding the fiber network and infrastructure updates. Google will bear the risk. In return, the city has to allow right-of-way to install the system. It's not clear how much individuals will have to pay for the service, but for non-users there won't be any tax or business downside. @Dan On the technical side, I have access to 1 Gbps Internet at work. You're correct that it's not as fast as its theoretical maximum for most of today's web applications. However, when I use it to push data to another computer that's tied to the same fiber network, the speed gains are unbelievable. When I use it for everyday web applications, it's much faster than my residential Comcast service. Right now, 1 Gbps access is overkill for most users--a wonderful luxury that Ann Arbor would be lucky to have. However, network infrastructure, computing standards, and datacenter technology are continuously advancing. A lot of the data you remotely access no longer resides on a hard drive, and is now cached in RAM or on faster solid-state drives; this trend will continue. Ten years from now, I expect that 1 Gbps fiber will be the norm and it will be able to fully deliver on its promise. Ann Arbor would do well to be so far ahead of the technology curve.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Business Questions first. This Google project will likely be successful where ever is it deployed - since they will not carry forward with a project that would fail - even if it is head of the tech curve for today. The big question in winning the Project is which city will make the best impression in rolling out the project to the entire country in the future? The project will be strongly and directly linked to the winning city in future marketing. What town would win the day as an All American high tech town that other cities would want to copy? Union Costs will play a BIG factor in the decision because of the vast amount of construction. If laying a mile of fiber costs $xxx is that TOO much for the rest of the country to absorb, city by city? That would equal a FAIL for the entire project. I think Google will pick a RIGHT TO WORK State - just based on Labor costs.


Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 9:28 a.m.

Meeting on the Diag was clever, since thousand of students pass by there every day.....but Friday. Hello organizers, if you really want to have a great turnout, pick a time when naturally thousands of students come through the area. There were at a maximum of 150 people at the "Flash Mob" - truly embarrassing on a campus of 30,000+. We may have a shot at attracting Google Fiber, but not based on this showing.


Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

Awesome... and then maybe we could all hold hands and form a human chain representing human connection through Google Fiber... and then maybe we could power it with a windmill...

Dan Simms

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 4:21 a.m.

It's not a nad thing, but like I said, your computer CANNOT handle the full speed google is claiming it will give you. Service providers and telco companies do provide this service, to EACH OTHER, because they are the ones with the IT departmens who purchase insanely expensive servers and equipment like network switches/royters/RAID drive arrays that can handle these loads. They do not provide this full speed to citizen end users. This is all from the days when Excite@Home went bust during the tech bubble, because they expanded by installing all this fiber along with other companies, when they couldn't afford it and there was really no need for it. They overexpanded and estimated to provide for the future. Then AT&T came in and only offered half of what it was wotth, leaving the rest "dark fiber" for others to buy up which is what google is doing now. And only service prodivers and commercial organizations can purchase it. Until more businesses and ISPs upgrade their lines, these speeds will not occur. You can't have half/half(fiber-copper) and expect full speed. Not everyone is on the fiber bandwagon because it is still ridiculously expensive, and, this country is bankrupt. IT spending and jobs went out the window. Google would be better served by just telling the truth that it can only provide 50Mbs realisitcally to everyone out of that 1Gb unless you have a direct connection to your other location. Or they should just give their money to Verizon. It costs about $10,000 a mile to connect to dark fiber from one estimate, and probably $1,000 a month for access. Are you willing to pay that for home use? Most businesses pay $3,000 a month for T3. But then that is dedicated with redundancy for backup if it goes down. Not the crappy run around service you get from comcrap for $50 a month. What google is doing is noble, but these speeds are not going to materialize until a lot more companies are on the fiber line and upgrade their equipment, and the end users computer hard drive can handle sustained unbuffered 100MBs speeds, not the 250MB buffered which only lasts briefly. Even solid state disks can barely reach that.

Ryan McGee

Sat, Mar 27, 2010 : 12:09 a.m.

Good work mobsters. I wish I could have been there! I'm curious how people can manage to make this seem like a bad idea. I mean really people, why would having a faster data pipe be a bad idea? The argument about nobody being there to send data at those speeds is weak. The data providers can be saying the same thing. E.g. Why should I provide data at faster speeds if there is no network to support it?

Peter A Webb

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

@a2grateful I don't immediately see why the cost-per-person of a fiber plant would be much higher in Ann Arbor than in Cleveland. Honestly.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:27 p.m.

Who needs fiber? I do, I do... LOL on the Cleveland comparison... they have about 5 times our population... Anyone thinking of "economy of scale?" (Besides Google?)


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:24 p.m.

Tony, thanks for the site information on the Google fibre project. I learned that analysis suggest a build out cost of $100 million and an additional $1,000 per property hook up cost. Google suggest the service would be "Priced Competitively"...... Wireless Ann Arbor seems to have failed and they had no dirt to move!


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:23 p.m.

Nah, I just saw a bunch of old folks that wouldn't know what to do with high speed even if they had it...; }


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

Did anyone else think of the Village people when they saw this photo?


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:53 p.m.

u will pay ur comcast bill & like it...


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:40 p.m.

Prior to my running wildly through the streets of Ann Arbor making an "A" with my hands to show support for the Google Fiber project, I would like to know..... what's it going to cost us tax payers?? Are there alternatives to Google Fiber?? Are council members providing knowledge leadership on the issue?? I guess I am still hung up on the Wireless Ann Arbor fiasco.


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:18 p.m.

What a bunch of desperate fools. google is laughing all the way to free parking and generous subsidies for their last pie-in-sky relocation here...Where's those 1,000 jobs they promised downtown? I see barely a hundred. Embarassing indeed!


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:13 p.m.

I would like the Google Fiber project, but these efforts are becoming borderline creepy....

C. Pan

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 2:08 p.m.

It looks like a fun and spirited way to get some sun and hope for that fiber!

Peter A Webb

Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

Cleveland, Ohio, in cooperation with Case Western, is bringing gigabit internet to its citizens itself. I'm confident that Ann Arbor could do the same if it channeled all of this energy, and it could do it even without Google. Check it out:


Fri, Mar 26, 2010 : 1:53 p.m.

Ok I've really been for this casue I think it's great all around and I have also been critical of people against it, but let's show some dignity. "Hundreds of people make an "A" (which stands for Ann Arbor) while singing the "A2 Fiber anthem" Embaressing.