South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

Mayor asks for help to get Google high-speed internet


March 23, 2010

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon have issued an urgent call to action to the Pittsburgh community to help convince Google to bring its new ultra high-speed broadband network to Pittsburgh.

If Pittsburgh is chosen, the network will deliver Internet speeds more than 100-times faster than what most Americans have access to today.

"Google wants to be sure that the communities it selects to install this new ultrafast network are excited about the project and prepared to help the company explore the potential of this revolutionary resource," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "We know that's the case here in Pittsburgh and that we are ready, willing, and able. But we need local residents, companies and organizations to help make that absolutely clear to Google. We're urging everyone to go to and nominate Pittsburgh for this project right now."

Information on exactly how this ultra-high speed network would transform Pittsburgh – from the education and medical benefits, to the residential consumer benefits and economic development – are available at the site. Many cities already have expressed eagerness to participate in this highly competitive new program.

"Every City knows that this designation would be the ultimate game-changer, spurring economic development wherever the network is built. Google has given us until March 26 to submit our proposal, so we have nine days to use our new website to communicate to them just how much Pittsburghers are ready, willing and able," Mr. Ravenstahl continued.

Through the website, individuals and organizations can submit a comment, leave a voicemail or upload a video with their messages of support and ideas for how an ultrafast network could be used. Businesses and organizations are urged to submit their logos for display on the site.

"We've incorporated different forms of technology and social media on the website to make it easy for Pittsburgh residents, businesses and community groups to show their support for bringing the Google network to Pittsburgh," said Director Howard A. Stern, the City's chief information officer.

"Pittsburgh has the intellectual bandwidth to complement Google's networking infrastructure," said Mr. Cohon. "Google recognizes that Carnegie Mellon and our fellow universities here are pipelines for talent and wellsprings of innovation in engineering, policy, business, the sciences, computer science, and the arts. I think what Google will learn in the coming weeks is that this entire community is similarly focused on the future."

The City of Pittsburgh proposal to Google is being developed with significant input from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The presence of innovative organizations demonstrates that the city has both a demand for new networking capacity for education, research and entertainment, and a wealth of ideas for creating new applications that take advantage of the network's unparalleled speed. The city also boasts excellent underlying infrastructure and a government that will aggressively clear any remaining obstacles to a new network.

The Google Fiber for Communities program, announced February 10, would deploy and test fiber optic networks to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people in the United States. The networks would deliver Internet speeds of one gigabit per second, more than 100 times faster than the speeds typically available to Americans today. Google will pay to install and operate the networks and would charge consumers competitive rates for Internet service.


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