Google just announced that it's inviting 34 cities to "explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber." Carrboro and Chapel Hill are among those 34 cities as a part of the Raleigh-Durham metropolitan area. Other area cities invited as part of the metro area include Cary, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, and Raleigh.
Google Fiber is the next generation of Internet access — Internet that is up to 100 times faster that current basic broadband access.
From Google's official blog:
We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.
We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.
You can read more about what could potentially be coming to Carrboro and Chapel Hill at Google Fiber's website.
After a considerable amount of work, we're pleased to announce that the next iteration of OrangePolitics is now entering a public beta. Please check it out and let us know what you think! Feel free to log in, mess around, look for old content, and try out posting and commenting! The site reflects a pull of our current database which I made about a week ago. Related, if you have recently changed your password, the change may not be reflected on the new site; if you're having trouble logging in, let me know and I'd be happy to help!
We've had several discussions lately about what some of us would like to see from county government in terms of communications and information technology. Perhaps the county naming a new Chief Information Officer will be an opportunity for a new focus in the county on open data, open standards, and information access. What do you think? The first item on my wishlist (half jokingly) would be to have him work with Public Affairs to find a better solution than using Microsoft Office to format emailed press releases. Why? Because Microsoft's use of proprietary stylesheets makes the formatting of documents break when text is copied into other programs, unless I go through and manually edit the code.
I know the folks in county government are hard working people with a lot on their plate, so I hope any suggestion is given (and received, too) as well-meaning constructive feedback. From an Orange County press release:
As you might have noticed about a month ago on June 3, Orange County (finally!) joined Twitter and Facebook in an attempt to enhance their social media presence and public engagement/outreach.
At 7:00 pm on Tuesday night, at the Southern Orange Human Services center at 2501 Homestead Rd in Chapel Hill, the Orange County Comissioners will discuss the Orange County Public Library Draft Strategic Plan for 2013 - 2016. The draft plan can be found in the Work Session agenda (PDF) on the county website.
The last time the library was discussed at the BOCC, the county staff suggested that the plan, which is being written up by Dr. Anthony Chow, an assistant professor in the Department of Library Science at UNC-Greensboro, would be critical to informing the site selection of the Southern Branch of the Orange County Library. The plan begins on page 29 of the PDF after Dr. Chow's Curriculum Vitae.
Hat tip to our friend Lee Storrow for noticing this blog post on "16 Sassy Tweets From The Nation's 16th Largest School District" about Wake County Schools' Twitter feed.
Hashtags: Government Entities
#CBOA Carrboro Board of Aldermen
#CHCCS Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools
#CHTC Chapel Hill Town Council
# ? Hillsborough Board of Commissioners (aka Hillsborough Town Board)
#NCGA North Carolina General Assembly
#OCBOCC Orange County Board of Commissioners
#? Orange County Schools
Chad Johnston is the director of Chapel Hill's grassroots public access station The People's Channel. Not many people truly know the scope of the contributions he has made toward democratizing media both in Orange County and in Orange County. Sadly he's leaving us to run a station in a bigger community. The Independent Weekly has a wonderful cover story about him this week, and the public is invited to a potluck to say farewell to Chad tonight at the TPC studio on Elliot Road. If you can't attend in person, you can watch it live on TV!
I've noticed that Raleigh and other nearby municipalities are using tools like SeeClickFix.com to help residents connect and use local government. Durham's even using it's own website called http://www.liveworkplaydurham.com/ where folks can post their ideas for improving the community.
As an experiment I threw together this SeeClickFix widget.