Google Fiber Optics for Orange County?

Not sure if people saw this, but Google is planning on rolling out "ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States."  It sounds like they're doing this as a sort of proof-of-concept, in an effort to convince the FCC that a workable nationwide ultra high-speed internet access scheme is practical and affordable.  According to the Big G, they can "deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what mostAmericans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second,fiber-to-the-home connections," and they "plan to offer service at acompetitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000people."  Here's some more information.

Google is soliciting RFI's from intertested municipalities through March 26.  I think that Chapel Hil/Orange County would make a good candidate for a test like this: lots of business activity, a major state university, and a young tech-savvy population.  I know that I'd love to try out a higher-speed alternative to my Time Warner connection, which can noticeably lag during high-traffic hours.  What do you think?  Any chance that the powers that be in Chapel Hill/Orange County would be interested in submitting an RFI to Google?



Please go to and tell Google you want them in your Town & County. I just did it.

BTW - this is the mission of Orange Networking. A non-profit I started a few years ago. Would be great to revive ON with Google's help.

After you tell Google to bring fiber to our County join the Bring Google Fiber to Chapel Hill & Carrboro NC Facebook page.

I thought I saw that Chapel Hill is working with DOT to lay down fiber along with the traffic signal upgrade (as recommended by the defunct IT Advisory Committee). If that project is moving forwarded, wouldn't bringing Google here be redundant?

The Town/DOT fiber project is a loop. Meaning it will only go along major roads. Google is proposing fiber to the home. From the details I have this is a compatible venture.

Do you have any more information on that?  Google's system would include direct fiber-to-home connections; I'd be surprised if large-scale civil infrastructure projects would provide that level of connectivity.  But I was not aware of that project, no.

Details are a moving target. The people to ask are the Mayor and Manager of both Towns. Please report back here what you learn.

The DOT fiber project has been in the works for awhile. My info may be out of date. But I'm pretty sure their plans exclude connections to homes or businesses. Its a shame because they will have serious bandwidth.


Facebook group for Chapel Hill/Carrboro Google Fiber mentioned by CNN

Why is nobody commenting on what should be the obvious implications of something like this long term for the CHPL?  When CHPL was started 50 years ago, was the reason that the library was given the structure of a building that holds books because travelling to a building to pick up a book was superior as compared to sitting in a home and just downloading it?  Or was it because sitting in a home and just downloading a book was not an option at that time? Yes, I know that holding books for people to come and pick up isn't the sole function of CHPL but it's a major one.  And I know that it's not feasible right now for everybody to sit at home and download a book from the library instead of going to the library to get it but it's coming, and fast, certainly a lot faster than some other futuristic things people champion.

But I'm not sure why the effect on the CHPL is a particularly important aspect of the benefits derived from an infrastructure improvement like this.  It's not really about any specific business or institution, it's about widespread access to a vastly superior ISP.Besides, don't mistake this as some sort of utopian "free internet for all" proposition.  Google said they plan to "offer service at a competitive price".  I think this probably means we'd be looking at prices similar to those charged for RoadRunner, FiOS, etc.Given that, I'm not sure that anybody who currently can't afford a Time Warner internet connection -- which is more than enough bandwidth to download multimedia material -- would gain any increased access if this project were to take place in Chapel Hill.

People that can't afford a Time Warner internet connection would gain increased access if there were more free internet access at CHPL, which would happen if people that _could_ afford a Time Warner internet connection had the option of downloading their meida from home instead of having to travel to the CHPL and check out physical copies of it, thereby decreasing the amount of space in CHPL needed to hold physical copies of media, which in turn would increase the amount of space available in the CHPL for free internet connections.  Yeah, that's a long, complicated sentence but if you read it carefully I think you'll see that it makes sense. Then again, all of that is moot if we're hellbent on ensuring that CHPL is contained in as large a building as physically possible despite the fact that the world is in the middle of a long term digital revolution that drastically reduces the physical space required for all media.

Yeah now I get what you're saying; apologies for the confusion.  Of course, I have a Time Warner connection right now, and I can do all sorts of things with it far beyond the realm of web browsing: BitTorrent downloads, Xbox Live, Netflix Streaming, MLB.TV, etc.  So my guess is that even a connection like that is more than adequate for downloading any media stored electronically on the library's servers.I honestly have no idea what sort of online media access the CHPL provides, but my guess is that any limitations occur on the library side, and aren't a result of widespread bandwidth restrictions.

Ken Pennoyer, Town business management director, presented an overview of the Google Fiber RFI. Then, 4 community members spoke - including Will Raymond, Joe Capowski, the Director of RENCI, and a recent UNC grad. Joe Capowski compared our internet access unfavorably to Serbia's. Ed Harrison, Penny Rich, Gene Pease, Donna Bell, Jim Ward, and Laurin Easthom all spoke in favor of going forward with the application and asked the community to come forward with any creative ideas. Mayor Kleinschmidt is excited by the passion of community members for this plan. Mayor Chilton spoke, saying that the application has full support of Carrboro.The committee of Chapel Hill-Carrboro-UNC will continue to work.

Mark Chilton was also in favor of giving people home loans who could not afford them. Why should we trust him or any corporation or politician about this?

Christian, you are on thin ice. Please keep your comments on topic, and include substantiation for your accusations or your posting privileges will be limited again.

Maybe I can point out the topic flow?Molly De Marco wrote "Mayor Chilton spoke, saying that the application has full support of
Carrboro."I resopnded "Mark Chilton was also in favor of giving people home loans who could not
afford them."I have information on the housing stuff, but he was a real estate agent. If you feel the first comment by Molly was off topic then I will not continue. But my point was that because the Mayor or anyone is in favor of the idea does not give the idea any amount of credibility.Should I be having this conversation with you off the comment section? Or maybe you could have sent me a note off the comment section?

...currently says your name is "Christian B," is that not correct? If you are using a false name, that is a violation of our site's guidelines. ("Users may not use a fake e-mail address or attempt to impersonate anyone (real or imaginary)." conversation might not be of interest to other readers but in the interest of transparent moderation, I try to do it in public when it seems appropriate. I also thought you might appreciate the opportunity to explain yourself in public, but if you prefer I can just remove the comment. And no, I don't see the connection between Molly stating that Mayor Chilton was present and supported the proposal which is the topic of this thread, and your accusation which is at best tangentially related, but more importantly is not substantiated.

It says Croatoan... 

First name and last name. So would you prefer to correct your comment or your profile?

That is my first and last name.Croatoan O

Did anyone comment on the irony of CH trying to lure new ultra-high speed internet that will further decentralize and digitize information while simultaneously taking a 1950s style approach to the public library of expanding a building and storing more paper inside it?  How far into the digital age do we have to get before people start to visualize a library that people don't have to travel to in order to use?

Jose, why don't you do some homework before you start up again criticizing the Library expansion?  It's not just about books and their storage (a fact you would know if you bothered to take the time).  It's about providing computers so that those citizens that can't afford their own can still share in the benefits of a digital age.  It's about providing computer lab space so that those who want to learn how to use a computer can do so in a friendly environment.  It's about providing children's computers that come pre-loaded with 62 educational software programs, programs that would be far too costly for the average Chapel Hill parent.  It's about providing meeting spaces large enough to serve a community that currently is woefully lacking in such.  Yes, the Library expansion is about much more than books.

I've thought of all those things and I wrote a long reply to rebut point by point but I deleted it because I'm starting to realize I'm wasting my time on here.  People aren't interested in reasons and reasoning, rather they've already decided they want a bigger building no matter what and nothing is gonig to change their minds. The library is suppose to serve the community, not the other way around.

 "The library is suppose to serve the community, not the other way around."It has to work both ways - if the community doesn't serve the library, it dies.  And the community it serves has a diversity of uses, needs, and preferences. You may think the future of [text/info] communication is entirely electronic and there will eventually be no need of ink/paper communication (past, present or future). But while electronic text/info has certainly become the medium of choice for much in the way of communication and records now, it still has limitations - permanence being one, energy- and reader-device dependence being another -  and it should not be considered the sole or deciding reason to support a community library. The history of communication media shows a steady process of innovation and invention, but new media rarely if ever completely supplant old media - although eager "first adopters" always predict the obsolescence and death of the old media.  What happens is a melding and shifting and adaptation - some uses are best served by new technology, some by old technology, and almost always there's a region where old and new combine to serve unforeseen purposes.  And different segments of the population may have different dependence/preference re: the various forms of communication/records.  To imply that spending to support a library is only justified if its functions are limited to new technology - and that old technologies make it an unnecessary evil -  is a narrow and ultimately short-sighted view. And for the record (paper or e-text), this is one library-user (of all kinds of media) who believes we should seriously consider the fiber optic option for the town.

Jose, is decentrilization a good thing? Or does personal computer use further isolate individuals? And if all the computer data is in one place, isn't it still centrilized?Unless you feel the state should give everyone a computer, if you do not have a public library you are limiting access to publicly purchased information.

...bring up the possible downside of Google Fiber? Like privacy concerns, cost of the studies, Google's long term commitment, the privitazation of public access,the possibility of forced advertising. Google has revealed no details (known as vaporware in advertisng) but everyone is running to get it.Nevermind how they suckered all these cities into giving them free advertising. Yes, all the talk the town is doing is money Google is saving them on advertising. I do not like my tax dollars going to advertising for Google, Inc.

I have to say, the cities fighting for Google fiber are being a bit naive. Google makes its money on information and controling eyeballs. There will be a greater cost that they will at some point use to take advantage of this opporitunity. You are turning Google into a monoploy. "Don't be Evil" is only a trademark and they have constantly redefined what "evil" means to them. They did not feel doing bsuiness in China was evil until it started hurting them financially. 

I am no expert on either economic development or the internet, a number of costs and benefits appear obvious to me.  Perhaps it is merely my ignorance.First, it's good to see some economic development that is not retail.  It has been some time since key mills in Hillsborough and Carrboro were in full operation.   If there's anything I'm certain of in economics, it's that diversity is good.  Given the erosion of American industry these past thirty years, and the shift to usurious finance, insurance, and real estate, it seems to be a principle generally forgotten or ignored.  Orange needs more varied, more useful production.   Not everyone is interested in college.  That being said, I am concerned about Google for a number of reasons.  Primarily, though, I'm concerned about the illusion of the internet being green.  It might well be greener, in the long run, but, according to Gus Speth, energy consumption per home is -- I'm writing from memory -- something like 70% above what it was in 1975 -- mainly due to our obsession with convenience and electronics.  Like most choices, there's a dark side.  Remember that approximately half our electricity in this area comes from coal, some of which is almost certainly from mountain top removal.Additionally, every one here assumes that the internet will be permanent.  A system based on cheap fossil fuels and delicate electronic systems, no matter how redundant, will always be vulnerable.  For an example, read Mark Bowen's article,The Enemy Within, from last June's Atlantic Monthly.     


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