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. 


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

Robert Reddick
Citizen Mount Holly North Carolina

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Many of the Gigabit Fiber projects around the country are being deployed to neighborhoods with a build-to-demand approach. A recent Bernstein Research survey found that adoptions of the new Gigabit Fiber service varies with income, and higher income neighborhoods can show higher adoption rates. This stirs up questions about whether residents of poor or underserved neighborhoods will be left behind.

Google Fiber truck

Yesterday a Wall Street Journal article focused on the issue of digital divide. The lower adoption rate of Gigabit service in lower income neighborhoods doesn't seem to be deterring Google Fiber. Their General Manager for Kansas City said that of the city's 20 lowest-income areas, 19 qualified for Google's fiber service. Some city officials are now requiring the ISPs to offer free service to schools, libraries and community centers as they build out their networks.

The ISPs seem to be stepping up. Google Fiber agreed to offer service in "economically distressed" neighborhoods and offers a slower service that is free for seven years, after a $300 installation fee. In North Carolina, AT&T also agreed to provide free service for seven years for up to 100 community centers, though cities or outside groups will have to pay connection costs.

It is clear that city officials and the ISPs are aware of the digital divide issue, and are making steps to address it. But will it be enough? Local organizations like Connecting for Good in Kansas City are stepping in to help. Connecting for Good is a nonprofit organization that has been bridging the Digital Divide since 2011 with wireless mesh networks, community technology centers, low cost refurbished PCs and free digital life skills classes.

For more information on the topics read the full Wall Street Journal article here:

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As you've no doubt noticed, we recently rebranded our community effort to CharlotteHeartsGigabit (Twitter handle @CltHeartsGb). The original name was driven by our excitement over the February 19, 2014 announcement by Google Fiber that Charlotte was being considered for gigabit Internet deployment. Prior to that announcement we were not hearing much from the ISPs about improving the Charlotte infrastructure to gigabit speeds (with the possible exception of RST).

gigabit speed limit

Thanks to Google Fiber leading the conversation, other ISPs have stepped up to announce their own Internet speed improvements. Most recently AT&T announced that Charlotte was selected for GigaPower, and TWC's announcement that they are bringing faster Internet to Charlotte. We applaud any ISP that commits to building a faster Internet infrastructure in Charlotte, and decided to change our name to reflect our support of gigabit in general.

This general support of gigabit does nothing to diminish our strong support and excitement for Google Fiber coming to Charlotte. We want Google Fiber! But we also want ISP competition at the gigabit level. Competition benefits the residents of Charlotte. Competition keeps prices down and service levels up. Competition means the residents of Charlotte will enjoy a better online experience. And competition in gigabit infrastructure will improve Charlotte's ability to attract talent, foster entrepreneurship, and drive innovation.

Gigabit infrastructure places Charlotte on the map as a leading edge city with huge potential. Our belief is a gigabit Internet infrastructure will do for Charlotte what highways did for cities in the 1950s, providing a competitive edge for economic development efforts.

Thank you AT&T, and thank you TWC. Google Fiber, we stand ready to thank you as well; come to Charlotte!

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Google Fiber Trucks

The Charlotte Observer wrote a story today highlighting the status of Google Fiber in Charlotte. Reporter Megan Cassella interviewed representatives of Google, the City of Charlotte, and Charlotte Hearts Google. Highlights included:

Since the plan was finalized and submitted on May 1, teams of Google Fiber workers have been visiting the city “pretty regularly,” company spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said. One sat down with city planners at the end of last month to discuss permitting and approval processes, while others have been on the ground, surveying areas and counting utility poles.
Phil Reiger, assistant director for the city’s Department of Transportation and the project leader, said the June meeting with Google went well, and the company hadn’t asked anything the city felt was “unmanageable.” “What Google is proposing is a pretty major infrastructure investment,” Reiger said. “Disruption is inevitable.”

Wandres said Google will announce by the end of the year whether it’s going to build the fiber network in Charlotte. Until then, the company’s teams are doing things like checking to see where the cables will hang above the streets from existing utility poles and where they’ll have to be buried.

“It’s a big construction project, and we want to do it in the most efficient way possible,” Wandres said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to plan it well.”

Click here for the full Charlotte Observer article.

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One gigabit of synchronous Internet capacity. This is the promise of Google Fiber to the home. This amount of bandwidth sounds great when you only have 15 megabit download speed and perhaps 1 megabit upload speed today (if you're lucky). But why does one need 1 gigabit Internet speed at home? What problems does it solve?

I spoke with Houston and Ryan, founders of the interactive marketing company Full Metal Chicken, who compared it to the depth of a swimming pool: Gigabit capacity itself may not solve problems directly, but what it does is make the water deeper. You can dive in without hitting your head on the bottom. Deeper water gives you the chance for more opportunities. Here are a few examples:



An immediate benefit of gigabit capacity is elimination of buffering when streaming videos from Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, or other video source. Cable companies like Comcast routinely compress their TV video signal. You would not have to do so with a Google Fiber gigabit connection.

YouTube logo.jpg

For those of us using our phones and cameras to capture video footage we will be able to upload our videos to YouTube and Vimeo 100 times faster than we can today! Imagine uploading videos which used to take 45 minutes, now taking less than a minute.

Music will also queue up and stream faster with the extra bandwidth gigabit provides. High definition images will download and upload much faster. If you have 100 high definition pictures you'll be able to upload them 100 times faster than today. For those of us with multiple people in our household, all online simultaneously using bandwidth, a gigabit connection will make the experience so much smoother for everyone. The world of Entertainment at home will change for the better.


At-home diagnosis, monitoring, and even the sharing of high definition x-rays is possible with a gigabit connection to the home. We've been promised tele-medicine for years, but have seen implementation delayed due to lack of bandwidth (or in the case of the earlier analogy, the water wasn't deep enough to swim). Doctors and hospitals can push content but the home user needs the capacity to absorb it. Gigabit connections will make it possible.

Imagine anytime, anywhere transmission and viewing of medical files and images. A doctor can pull these up from home and send them directly to the patient's home. Yes privacy and HIPAA requirements will need to be enforced on these transmissions, but at least it will become possible. Bandwidth will no longer keep this from happening.


Google Fiber speed 400.png

Gigabit Internet capacity to the home will open opportunities that don't exist today. Just like when we went from dial-up Internet to Broadband, users will find a way to consume the bandwidth. This will foster entrepreneurship as it brings to the forefront companies that can use the capacity. Startup business models which don't work today can happen when bandwidth is not a limiter. Existing companies can also expand their product lines and take advantage of the increased capabilities.

Consider for example replication of data being performed in real-time, syncing continuously instead of in a Cron job. Large data files can easily be downloaded, manipulated, and uploaded again, bringing Big Data jobs to telecommuters and the work-from-home market. Businesses will be encouraged to move to cities with the gigabit Internet infrastructure which allows the business model to succeed. Talented people, particularly those in tech, will flock to cities that have gigabit infrastructure.

Universities will benefit as students will have gigabit connection to their homes, allowing much greater use of online education. Similar to healthcare, the education sector can utilize gigabit connections for transmission of very large files, videos, and images, with a smooth and buffer-less experience. Online research with access to massive amounts of data will become easier and faster.

* Note: In order to achieve gigabit internet speeds you need to have a computer, modem, and AC wi-fi router that support the speed. We recently purchased a gigabit wif-fi router for less than $100 (TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router) and have been pleased with the results.

We don't know all the potential uses of an infrastructure with gigabit Internet speed, but we do know it will enable new businesses and capabilities that cannot be done today. Gigabit infrastructure will attract talent to Charlotte and pave the way for economic growth for the city for years to come.

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