The City of Falls Church has submitted an application to Google’s Fiber for Communities program, aimed at bringing higher-speed broadband service to one or more selected U.S. communities, City officials announced in a press release this morning.
“Our City is an ideal and manageable location for Google to demonstrate its new network,” said David Tarter, chairman of the Falls Church Economic Development Authority. “We have a highly educated population with strong federal government employment ties that would make great use of this opportunity.”
The search engine giant will select one (or more) U.S. community to become the testing ground for a new, experimental broadband network that would bring Internet speeds of one gigabyte a second, up to 20 times faster than regular fiber optic services, like Verizon’s FIOS, currently offered to City residents. The network would be free of charge to the city, though consumers would still have to pay to use it. Google hopes to reach at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with their experiment, although the City’s total population is only 11,200.
“The City has put forward a strong proposal to be at the leading edge of the roll-out of this new platform so that our growing business community will have the tools they need to compete effectively in the global marketplace,” City Manager Wyatt Shields stated. Shields noted that Falls Church is already among the best connected cable and wireless broadband communities in the nation.
Andy Rankin, president of Falls Church-based Viget Labs, also stressed the business benefits of a faster fiber network: “As a technology company that works strictly in the Internet industry we can already imagine some of the new applications that could be implemented in a place with ultra-high-speed data access.”
From his perspective as a City resident, Rankin added: “Many people in our community already take advantage of tele-commuting as a way to reduce traffic and protect the environment. Having access to Google’s fiber network would greatly improve that experience.”
According to a post on Google’s official blog, they have received more than 1,100 community responses. Other U.S. cities that have been reported to of applied for Google’s program include San Francisco, Baltimore, Madison, Wis., Sarasota, Fla., and Topeka, Kan. The deadline for applying for Fiber for Communities is today, March 26.
Google is expected to make a decision on the community later this year.