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« Cul-de-sac | Main | Brannon agonistes »

Feb 19, 2014

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Lex

You know, for a community that can't get its act together, we actually got our act together pretty well when we made that pitch.

*sigh,* indeed.

Billy Jones

As long as Greensboro's status guo remains empowered we will always be last. They simply can't see past the fantasy of real estate development as a means of economic development.

Ed Cone

Lex, I share that frustration. The GoogleFi effort was a respectable one, although I don't recall the econ dev establishment taking a leadership role.

But no momentum or sense of urgency around digital infrastructure was established. It was a one-off -- famous company dangled a prize, we didn't get it, back to sleep we went.

Liv

No but Comcast loves you.

polifrog

Greensboro was right to pursue this one. Too bad for Greensboro it did not work out.

winstongator

I think Ed has 2 assumptions about GoogleFi that will be tested out with some of the markets they've chosen. The first is that having great broadband will significantly increase the level of tech employment in an area. KC is the litmus test for me. Utah has had some software companies, historically, and Austin is already laden with tech jobs. Will KC develop a tech presence? The second is the point Billy likes to make - would an investment that primarily benefits intensive technology users generate benefits for the lower income residents of a community? As an analogy, does building an urban loop help people who walk or take the bus to work?

I would have loved Google to have chosen the Triad, and it would have benefitted my family considerably. I also appreciate the fact that the investment in our community would be coming from an outside private entity - it's not money diverted from schools to pay for it. However, I was not surprised that Google would choose Charlotte & the Triangle over the Triad for their investment, just based on population density, number of tech workers, and growth potential.

How far will Google take this? Are they hoping to be able to sell this network to a company whose primary mission is delivering bandwidth to consumers? A longer term question - how soon before the traditional cable channel model breaks down and we are entirely on an a-la-cart pricing or video on demand model?

Ed Cone

WG, one clarification: "Tech employment" is an amorphous term in an era where technology and technology jobs permeate all kinds of industries. So it's not just software development and similar fields that are supported by infrastructure, it's a range of options across a lot of business types. "Tech employment" would be great, and I think you're seeing that as an offshoot of Chattanooga's broadband experiment, but it's not the only possible payoff from infrastructure.

Also, I'm not surprised the QC and Triangle are ahead of us, just disappointed and wondering what our econ dev and political leadership has been doing on this front in the years since GoogleFi briefly energized them.

winstongator

I think the number of occupation is either not sufficiently serviced or marginally serviced by the current capabilities of cable networks is very small, although both my wife and I would fall into those categories. The real benefit of a 'fat pipe' are power users. Light users see increased benefits from a flexible network and lower prices. I would say those are better served through wireless options, which as optical networks are expanding, wireless network capabilities are rapidly improving - one link to current capabilities An available optical network can also work with new wireless networks.

Chattanooga's experience is better than I would have expected. What was the cost of their network? Thinking now, these investments should be viewed like the interstate system of the 1950's. It was a massive investment and significantly reshaped how communities developed (not always in a positive way). Hopefully Charlotte and the Triangle achieve what Google is looking for and the build out goes past the currently announced cities.

winstongator

Fortunately, my occupation does not require full mastery of the English language. I apologize for the poor grammar in the prior comment.

The number of occupations that are either not sufficiently serviced or marginally serviced by the current capabilities of cable networks is very small, although both my wife and I would fall into those categories.

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