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Mar 02, 2010

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Roch101

And... don't co-opt what is already genuinely underway.

"The logo idea was Councilmember Thompson. [sic]"

Thompson's original idea was "Operation Google" -- thus a crate made more sense. "Google Greensboro" on a crate is the result of co-opting.

Ross Myers

A centralize place that the City promotes to share its efforts on the Google Initiative is a great idea.

A thought they might want to consider is to not make it Google-centric but instead make it about High Speed Internet.

That way win or lose on Google we can have something that continues to expand the community input on the positive impact High Speed Internet can have on our quality of life, our business community and the education opportunities we offer our children.

Ed Cone

Seems to me the site should focus on what the City is doing -- officially, with regard to the Google info request, and also in cooperation with the community.

Totally agree that if we do not get Google, this should morph into a High Speed Internet chase -- but I'd start by making it Google-specific.

Ross Myers

The site could be Google focused at this time....not necessarily Google-centric.

It would be easier to morph, if needed, if they don't lock into and promote a domain like http://googlegreensboro.com.

Also links given to the site would not lose value if Google becomes yesterday's news.

Jim Caserta

Maybe I should have been stronger. Google will require local government leadership & cooperation.

I really like Ross's idea about HSI-centric vs. Google-centric. A message not focusing on Google might be better at attracting Google. If a community seems committed to fiber rollout with-or-without the Google, that will give Google a sense of their future enrollment rate in their service.

I see fiber as the next generation coax. It took a while to roll coax everwyere, but it is nearly everywhere. Fiber offers technical advantages over coax that will be more apparent in the future than today. I'm sure people said (and some still say today) - 'why do you need more than the 3 channels you can get from rabbit-ears?'

RecycleBill

Again, what does GSO have to offer Google?

Roch101

Or, as I actually was asked once, I swear, "Why do you need email if you have a fax machine?"

We've got three weeks to the application deadline. Ross's correct observation about losing the links aside, there is no cost to getting our Google appeal as beefy as we can before turning to the broader possibilities.

Roch101

Billy, you once ran for mayor. Imagine you had won, what would you now be saying Greensboro has to offer Google?

Ed Cone

Billy, I stressed the importance of that question at the public meeting, and have written about it at here, too.

The answers might include physical location/proximity to other telecom infrastructure, demographics and physical layout similar enough to other places in the country to make us a useful test market, concentration of education and medical institutions, and highly-interested local government and citizenry.

RecycleBill

Ed wrote: "The answers might include physical location/proximity to other telecom infrastructure, demographics and physical layout similar enough to other places in the country to make us a useful test market, concentration of education and medical institutions, and highly-interested local government and citizenry."

Sadly, none of those answers set us apart from a hundred or so other cities across America.

RecycleBill

Roch asked, "Billy, you once ran for mayor. Imagine you had won, what would you now be saying Greensboro has to offer Google?"

Sadly, I, like all the rest of you, apparently cannot answer that question.

Ross Myers

Greensboro's Creative Industry development potential and our vast reservoirs of untapped Creative Capital make us appealing.

RecycleBill

Ross wrote: "Greensboro's Creative Industry development potential and our vast reservoirs of untapped Creative Capital make us appealing."

And a hundred other cities can't make the same claim?

Ed Cone

Billy, everyone knows it's a long shot, against a ton of competition, and that there is no magic bullet to make us win.

So we're trying our best to do what we can, and to build momentum for other options if this one doesn't happen.

RecycleBill

"So we're trying our best to do what we can, and to build momentum for other options if this one doesn't happen."

And you're years behind the curve. Why Greensboro Won't Land Google Fiber

Jim Caserta

I think GSO's odds are slightly higher than W-S, but both are slightly above what you'd expect. With roughly 200 locales it seems a tough bet, but both cities have large student populations (off campus students would be prime users - video lectures online anyone?), and vibrant medical communities. The cities are growing and moderate density. With the Lenoir facility, I imagine Google's backbone runs fairly close.

Billy, Google has plenty of capital, in the form of a $25B savings account. They want to put that money to use, and a project like this is perfect. Also, no google employees would need to move here. Most of the labor for the project would be construction-type and local.

Ed & others have written what GSO has to offer. Most importantly it is a slice of the middle of America. Not a major urban center, but far from rural. I put the combined chances of GSO & W-S at 1/10. At 50k investment each, $100k at 1/10 chances of a $500M investment is a great bet. Even at 1/100 chances, which is giving each locale equal chance, it's a decent bet (100k*100 = $10M << $500M). For those that think that Google will choose a major tech hub (SF/Boston/Austin) think hard about the fiber options already rolled in those towns, and Google's asking about alternate internet providers.

Greensboro's enthusiasm, as evidenced by this and other blogs, facebook & the city IS something tangible GSO offers GOOG. This is not going to be a cheap service (pricing inline with T-W for better service). Having 150k residents who are not big consumers of bandwidth is less helpful than 50k residents who are all heavy internet users.

RecycleBill

Jim,
I think quality of life issues will weigh far more important to those high level Google representatives who will ultimately chose which city they will be living and working in than any of the reasons you've presented thus far.

And to be honest, Greensboro does not rate well when it comes to quality of life issues.

RecycleBill

And Jim, "no google employees would need to move here"

Are you suggesting that Google will spend $500M and not send a stable full of their best horses to keep track of the race? Google didn't get "a $25B savings account" by racing the race you're suggesting.

Jim Caserta

I strenuously disagree.

This is a capital expenditure issue. When I say 'no' I mean few, and not exec level. Dell employees moved to Winston when their factory got set up, and Austin is a better place to live than SiValley. A few people would come to oversee setting up the network, but it is more a design issue than implementation, and the implementation issues are boots-on-the-ground construction issues, not necessarily technical ones. Your analogy is not good. Google would get $100/mo from say 50k homes. That is $60M/yr, running a basic telecom network. No real high level Google folks need to move here to administer that, and the ones moving here aren't the decision makers.

Ed Cone

Do not think quality of life for transplants would be a factor in the dela, but a GOOG exec would probably enjoy a pretty high quality of life in GSO.

Billy's argument boils down to this: Greensboro sucks, so don't even try to make it better.

I'd disagree with both halves of that equation.

Billy Jones

Ed wrote: "Billy's argument boils down to this: Greensboro sucks, so don't even try to make it better."

So shallow, I expected better from Ed Cone. But then you really aren't as smart as you wish you were, are you? My argument boils down to this: Only Greensboro can make Greensboro better. And as long as Greensboro's "leaders" keep chasing pie in the sky ideas Greensboro will get no better.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times, "Make Greensboro the safest and most desirable city in America in which to live and work and we'll be turning companies away."

But sadly, Greensboro's "leaders" and apparently Ed Cone are too shallow to understand.

Bubba

Except for a brief mention of the Lenoir experience, no one has talked about the potentially huge negatives that a Google presence might bring here. Even JR understands the potential for the unintended consequences of being involved with Google.

In addition, I will not be surprised if the costs to end users are significantly higher than those being discussed here.

Ed Cone

I reported and wrote about the Lenoir experience at the time, and it's been discussed in these threads.

We all understand that Google is a big, tough company that can drive a hard bargain, but specific parallels with the Lenoir dc are hard to come by.

JR's post has been discussed here, too, with Roch rightly trashing the "faster porn" angle.

Again: we all understand that this is an RFI.

If Google says, you win, here's an enormous bill, they look terrible and we can choose not to pay.

It's important to consider potential costs and downsides, but let's not pretend that hasn't been part of the conversation to date.

Billy, I completely agree that a safer, greener, better-schools place is the place we should work to be. But that's no reason not to pursue better internet service -- in fact, it's a reason to do it.

Jim Caserta

This is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. How was CATV viewed in 1965 vs. 1985? Greensboro residents will have fiber access at their homes in 20 years, by Google or otherwise.

If this network were being proposed by AT&T/Verizon/Qwest or other telco, would people bring up the vacuous argument about 'unintended consequences'? This network will look and feel very similar to Verizon's FiOS, which from the people I know who have it, is a great service.

I work at a company whose roots are in Western Electric, which was not a Greensboro company. RFMD shares those roots. Bringing out-of-town companies can dramatically improve an area. IBM's presence in Raleigh has been hugely important to that area's growth. Companies like SAS would not have formed there without IBM's presence.

Andrew Brod

Mayor Holliday often referred to the Greensboro Disease, which afflicts residents with the compulsion to tell others why their fancy ideas won't work here. Some are clearly suffering from that still. But if we let it derail something with as much transformative potential as this, I'm afraid it's terminal.

Ed Cone

When coining that phrase I defined it as "reflexive negativity."

I also cautioned against Greensboro's weakness for "another local malady, Silver Bullet Syndrome, which demands that all development ideas solve all problems immediately or be declared a complete failure."

Andrew Brod

Okay, so it was your phrase. But it's a good one.

Of course Billy has a point in arguing that a city's intrinsic assets matter. And I believe that investment in those assets often gets less attention than higher-profile activities such as using incentives to attract new companies. But improving Greensboro's "intrinsic assets" is precisely what the Google opportunity is about!

Ed Cone

Nothing makes a writer happier than adding to the lexicon.

SBS seems relevant in this case, too.

Roch101

Billy's right. Ed's right. Andy's right. Maybe Greensboro can surf and chew gum at the same time.

Jim Caserta

I would not look at this as a transformative investment. If W-S gets Google, RTP will still be a more attractive place for tech companies to locate. It is more an evolutionary development in communications than a revolutionary one. It is, however, a $500M capital investment, that no community can sneeze at. Short-term job creation, for the network roll-out, would be very beneficial at this time.

FTTH costs coming down (from 2006!)

Civil works, which includes the laying of fibre, accounts for the bulk of FTTH costs. According to IDATE, the research and consulting organisation, 70 per cent of the cost of rolling out FTTH to greenfield sites is accounted for by the installation of outside plant.

70% of $500M is $350M. Consider a 2 year rollout. Construction jobs at $50k/yr. That is close to 3500 jobs for two years. This is a high-end estimate, but we are still talking in the 500-5000 job range. Are there local employers that are itching to add that many jobs?

I also read about 'digging costs', and them being lower in a country like the Netherlands. Any idea on 'digging costs' in different US geographic areas?

Andrew Brod

Jim, I wasn't suggesting that ultra-fast broadband would suddenly turn us into RTP.

Jim Caserta

I appreciate the potential of this project, but would not use the term, "as much transformative potential as this". It is important not to overstate the potential of a project (SBS), although RN may be overall more harmful. The key point of this project is the massive capital investment.

Time Warner rolling to Docsis3 would have the potential to deliver 100MBps BW. Does that have 'transformative potential'? The bigger question is 'would a Google network speed or slow T-W's roll to Docsis3 ?'

Andrew Brod

I concede the debate on semantics.

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