State turning in bid early to get Google's gigabit


POSTED: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hawaii's gambit to get Google's gigabit service will be submitted by close of business today, a state official says.

It is not due until tomorrow, but Ron Boyer, acting director of the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, does not want to risk missing the deadline by waiting until the last minute. The state, like many other communities across the country, is vying to win Google's experimental fiber-optic network, which promises much-faster Internet speeds.

A video of Gov. Linda Lingle explaining Hawaii's submission and further pitching the Aloha State for selection will be posted on YouTube today.

“;Hawaii and Google are two of the world's most recognized brand names,”; Lingle said in a written statement yesterday. “;A Google Fibers for Communities project in Hawaii will unite these two global brands into an attractive and compelling platform to demonstrate the benefits of ultra-high-speed broadband.”;

Unlike other jurisdictions, “;Hawaii is not going to do any gimmicks, such as change our name or jump into ice water to get (Google's) attention,”; Boyer said.






Gigabit Hawaii Petition


The deciding factors?

“;I think it's going to be the quality of the application, the ability for Google to come into an area with a minimum of hassle,”; he said.

Communities around the country are competing for the broadband upgrade, responding to Google's open request for information posted on its blog.

Google announced its Fiber for Communities experiment last month, aimed at making Internet access better and faster for everyone with trials in one or more locations around the country. It will install, for free, fiber-to-home connections offering 1-gigabit-per-second speeds, more than 100 times faster than most U.S. residents have now.

The counties have been enthusiastically cooperating, and committed to “;doing whatever they can in their power ... to see that it's done,”; he said.

“;We may be the only one where the state comes in with a unified approach”; incorporating all the counties and inviting Google to install the ultra-high-speed broadband infrastructure anywhere, Boyer said.

Following a February column in the Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's tech community gathered to form the Hawaii Gigabit Broadband Coalition to drum up grass-roots support and petition signatures via social media and other means.

“;One thing we've learned is, traditional media is still king in Hawaii,”; said Dan Leuck, co-founder of tech firm Ikayzo and founder of TechHui, a sort of trade group for the local tech industry.

The effort exploded with a TV news story Tuesday, after which the number of signatures on an online petition grew five-fold. The petition will be submitted to Google.

“;I'm sure (grass-roots desire and support) will be a factor that Google will take into consideration. It's important that citizens get on board,”; Boyer said.

While installation will be free to the chosen locale or locales, service will be offered at what Google called a competitive price.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).