The following is a guest post written by Robert Reddick, a citizen of Mount Holly, North Carolina.

Google FIber COnstruction in Charlotte

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. 

Summary

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.

Robert Reddick
Citizen Mount Holly North Carolina
http://robertreddick.com/

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Dr. Stephen Hannon leads Gigabit charge in Gaston Co.

Dr. Stephen Hannon leads Gigabit charge in Gaston Co.

Leaders in Gaston County, NC have seen a glimpse of the future for what Gigabit Internet can mean for a community. The county recently commissioned Dr. Stephen Hannon to head a steering committee to explore how best to attract ISPs to build a Gigabit infrastructure. Modeled after Charlotte Hearts Gigabit, the Gaston Gigabit effort has brought together the business, government, entrepreneurship, and technology leaders to drive the initiative.

Gastonia East Rotary meeting June 1, 2015.

Gastonia East Rotary meeting June 1, 2015.

The effort kicked off at the Gastonia East Rotary meeting on June 1, 2015. Dr. Hannon presented the Gigabit opportunity to a packed room, followed by Alan Fitzpatrick’s presentation on ‘What Could Gigabit Internet Mean for Gaston County’ (view the presentation here). It was great to see such enthusiastic support from the business leaders in the community!

Residents of Gaston County are encouraged to utilize the resources on GastonGigabit.com to stay up to speed with news, a schedule of events, resource links, and updates on developments. The webpage lists the Gigabit advocates engaged in the effort and includes pictures from some of the events. Most important, the site contains a Sign Up form to express your interest in getting Gigabit to Gaston County. The more ‘demand’ that can be substantiated, the more attractive it will be for ISPs to build the infrastructure. Please encourage everyone you know in Gaston County to consider signing up to show their support.

Gaston Gigabit Steering Committee meeting June 25, 2015.

Gaston Gigabit Steering Committee meeting June 25, 2015.

The Rotary meeting was followed by the first Steering Committee meeting on June 25, 2015. The Hannons graciously hosted the first meeting at the Hannon Orthodontics office in Gastonia. The meeting focused on Gigabit Education, Evangelism, and generating Excitement. A good first step is to educate all parties (businesses, local colleges/universities, non-profit organizations/foundations, local elected officials and the general public) on the benefits of Gigabit Internet with demos and tangible examples they can understand and embrace. The team is exploring how best to begin this process, so stay tuned for information and progress on these efforts. How do you stay informed? By subscribing to the Gaston Gigabit mailing list!

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                                        Marc R. Burns - center

                                        Marc R. Burns - center

The following is a guest blog post from Marc R. Burns, Managing Partner, Techtheon. Marc is an avid supporter of bringing Gigabit Internet to Gaston County.

Up until recently, most businesses, of any size, have never had to consider if their network (i.e. LAN) was as fast as their Internet connection, since even 10 year old network hardware (i.e. switches, routers, wireless access points, etc.) were always faster.

Early networks (circa 1990) supported 10 megabits per second (m/s) speeds, both up & down. So even a DSL Internet connection (i.e. 6 m/s down X 0.25 m/s up) wasn't as fast as the network/LAN.

Currently, most every small business has a LAN supporting 100 m/s speeds (up & down).

Over the past 5 years, we have only deployed gigabit speed network/LAN hardware (i.e. 1,000 m/s up & down). Any PC, laptop or Mac purchased in the last 5+ years contains a gigabit network card inside. Wireless N and now Wireless A access points easily support up to 300m/s connections. (Wireless at least for the current future, will always be slower than wired. And this is even slower when you are on the cellular networks.)

My point, most businesses, small or large, are very used to how fast a file, folder, print job, scan, phone call, video, etc. goes across their network, in just fractions of a second. You "click the mouse" and it's done.

Now compare this when uploading or downloading a file from a website, email message, filling out/saving a web form, remotely accessing a computer, attending an online meeting, etc. The average user's experience of doing these kind of activities, over the Internet, is in a word "slow" or "click and wait".

Gigabit Internet brings the speed of your LAN to the web. Work with a customer, over the Internet, just like they were across the desk or the hallway from you in your office. Same when working with your fellow employees, when scattered across multiple locations (cities, states, countries) the user experience is just like you're all in the same building!

That is a power of Gigabit Internet!

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