I wasn’t the only one who saw a light bulb go on Tuesday night when I read online that Google plans to set up pilot projects to demonstrate that it can provide ultrafast Internet service currently unavailable commercially in the U.S.
Why not Tacoma? I thought. Tacoma was — and is — a leader in establishing a municipally owned fiber-optic network that enables citywide broadband Internet access. We might be a perfect candidate for Google’s scheme. I emailed Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland and Click! Network spokeswoman Diane Lachel to plant a bug in their ears.
They were way ahead of me. Strickland said she had sent a note over to Tacoma Power, which operates Click!, when she heard the Google news. Lachel said conversations were already underway about whether and how the city should respond.
If we go for it, we’ll have plenty of competition.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn jumped on the idea immediately, and hundreds, if not thousands of cities and communities are expected to apply once Google announces details. Unlike Tacoma, Seattle doesn’t have a citywide fiber-0ptic network, although city officials would like to build one. It’s not clear yet whether having one would be an advantage in attracting the Google project, but it seems logical that it would be.
I’m glad Strickland, Click! and Co. have it on their radar screen already. They’re paying attention.