Seattle Wants Google Fiber

The City of Seattle, Microsoft's home turf, says it will push to become one of the first locales in the country to tap ultra-fast Internet service.

Paul McDougall, Editor At Large, InformationWeek

February 12, 2010

2 Min Read

So much for not in my backyard. The city of Seattle, whose Redmond suburb has been home to Microsoft for about 25 years, wants to be first in line for a new, superfast Internet service from the software maker's biggest rival.

Seattle mayor Mike McGinn said Thursday that his municipal government would respond to Google's Request For Information (RFI) so that Seattle has a chance to be one of America's first cities to experience what Google says will be Internet speeds 100-times faster than conventional broadband.

"Google's vision of a fiber-to-the-home network with open access is very similar to McGinn's plan to connect every home and business in Seattle with a fiber broadband network," said the Mayor's office, in a statement.

"Fiber-to-the-premise networks will serve as an engine for business and economic development. Seattle would be an excellent place to construct such a network because we already have a high tech industry, and population," said the Mayor's office.

Of course, much of Seattle's "high tech industry" is due to the presence of Microsoft, directly or indirectly. And the company pumps millions of dollars annually into the local Puget Sound economy. So it's likely that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer aren't thrilled with McGinn's courtship of Google.

Microsoft doesn't offer ISP services, so Google Fiber doesn't represent a direct, competitive threat to the software maker. But Microsoft would surely, at the very least, be uncomfortable if it had to rely on Google's pipes to gets its software and services into the hands of its most local customers.

Google has yet to specify exactly where it will roll out its fiber experiment, other than to say it will debut in "a small number of trial locations across the United States."

Google promises connectivity speeds of 1 gigabit per second over the network.

InformationWeek has published a report on how the 802.11n standard will revolutionize connectivity. Download the report here (registration required).

About the Author(s)

Paul McDougall

Editor At Large, InformationWeek

Paul McDougall is a former editor for InformationWeek.

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