Sarasota Gets Giddy over Google Fiber listen03/11/10 Virginia Hoffman
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In Sarasota, community activists have joined forces with city and county government to launch a grass roots effort to become a testing ground for Google Fiber.
In February, Google invited municipalities to apply to join an experiment to test ultra high speed Google Fiber boasting to deliver Internet faster than any other Internet access. There is a hitch: Google wants to piggy back on existing networks which Sarasota can not offer.
County Administrator Jim Ley says there are ways around this. "We have a creative culture and creative assets like the Ringling College of Art and a community that is already heavily connected with access too the internet one of the highest access per capita in the country."
Administrator Ley said he had been watching for the Google Fiber announcement and when he found out the City of Sarasota was interested they began working together. He said if Sarasota makes the first cut further discussion with Google would occur. Ley believes creative collaborations for the application will take place.
Jim Ley, " The City is working to get people to show interest and we're talking with the film Commission and Ringling College of Art to stage a student competition about Sarasota on you Tube."
While skeptical about an experiment not yet defined Jim Ley calls it a brilliant move by Google. Because they are taking their brand and value as a company to ask are we worth partnering with.
Chance Graig, IT Director for the City of Sarasota, said that Google is not just be looking for free infrastructure. "I believe what Google is trying to do looking for a community that shows the interest to partner with them."
Tim Raines, a business developer for Technology Companies, said he moved to Sarasota because it promised support for the creative community. But because Google is looking for communities open to new technologies, Sarasota may not qualify.
Raines said, "Google's business plan makes it a badge of honor to be the first and I do not view Sarasota as an early adopter community ready to embrace new technology, certainly a late adopter community."
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