The following is a guest post written by Robert Reddick, a citizen of Mount Holly, North Carolina.
Google Fiber has now started construction in the city of Charlotte, and here in Gaston County our communities would love to have 1,000 Megabit speeds as well. The Charlotte project used outreach and advanced subscriber development to draw Google's interest, but what can we do here in our county to bring the speed - are subscribers enough?
After attending the Gaston Gigabit kickoff meeting I drafted a list of what Google might need from Gaston County. I see Google and their Google Fiber project as a different type of investment on their end. To Google, Gigibit speed internet service is more about the "attention economy" where revenue comes from advertising, and not line sales per se.
So what then does Google Fiber need from Gaston County? I believe they are interested in demonstrated outcomes and I think we are the perfect laboratory for their efforts. The idea being that this project may not be about Gigabit anything, but about using bandwidth to improve communities. I think we should be open to that here in Gaston County.
Consider these "solution laboratories" that Gaston County can bring to the table:
- A superfund site - to show how IoT can improve environmentals.
- Low income residents - to grow their audience; refine their free-access tier; and to demonstrate that they are not just about paying subscribers.
- A rural community - to show how a centralized fiber zone can leech services out to under-served communities.
- Another North Carolina investment - to continue to evolve their support for NC as we are now a destination state.
- A manufacturing partner - to demonstrate how site-to-site Gigabit service can change how a company operates, especially around video teleconference.
- A trade school - to demonstrate how investing in programmers and network technicians can drive an under-served community to become a power center. Similar story around nursing staff and other high-demand Associates training programs that can very quickly improve one’s "lot in life".
- Incubators - Important for education, business development, branding, and for regional events.
- Public events, especially long-themed initiatives - for ongoing tech-education and branding development.
- A willing Government partner - to demonstrate that their office products and cloud hosting are as good as Microsoft’s solutions.
- A privacy partner - To demonstrate trust in Google's operations, in how they handle personal and business security.
- Advertising space, especially digital and outdoor installation - for brand development and community communications.
- An outdoor civic space, a city-grid - to trial Wi-Fi hotspot boxes for walkup Wi-Fi.
- A community willing to test e-government and e-alerts - in an effort to take emergency alerts and homeland messaging from old-school non-interactive television, to new school SMS and google-TV methods.
- A community willing to challenge muni-internet service legislation.
- A police department partnership - to demonstrate how judicial and policing applications can benefit from Google's facial recognition capabilities, and align that with privacy concerns - the super fine line of privacy, auto-recognition, and predictive policing.
This may not be about our needs, but about Google Fiber’s needs, and how through that we can service our community with advancements, capabilities, business relocations, and regional promotion.
Every city in America wants faster Internet. What community though is willing to challenge Google Fiber to bring real solutions, and not just access? The apps will come, yes, and people who can afford these services will grow, but the real opportunity for economic, industrial, and social development in Gaston County is much more grounded in being a test-lab for change than in subscribers and other low-hanging and obvious outcomes.
Give away nothing, be willing to re-arrange everything, and make that happen by putting social improvement square on the agenda and challenging those partners that will listen to create change that is substantial, sustainable and that matters.
The gas in Gaston County can be our willingness to test-lab what's necessary and shared by the carrier and our community. There is simply no reason to beg for bandwidth, but instead, offer a rare but ready willingness to become part of true twenty first century progress.
For more information on the community effort to bring Gigabit Internet to Gaston County go to GastonGigabit.com.
Citizen Mount Holly North Carolina