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Driving Miss Daisy… at 6000 mph

You might be aware that the Google Fiber for Communities applications are due Friday.

And yeah, I’m a little annoyed about it.

See, I watched the “big city” media interview local internet providers in Bozeman and Missoula and managed to avoid throwing shoes at my monitor as I listened to their management universally declare that there was more than enough bandwidth in place already.

This self-serving response came when they were asked to react to the Google Fiber applications filed by Bozeman and Missoula.

This Google project has communities all over the U.S. applying to be one (or more, perhaps) of the lucky communities where Google will install one *gigabit* internet service.

Once built, it won’t be free, but it’s a little crazy to think about what that kind of bandwidth would mean to business, education, industry and so on.

One gigabit internet service. One billion bits per second.

Currently, I use Bresnan’s 15mb/second (15mb down, much much less up). Given that 10 years ago, we were on dialup here in Columbia Falls, things could definitely be worse.

On the other hand, to listen to these people say “we have all we need” makes me want to trade their regular coffee for Folger’s.

100 times

Google’s fiber is supposed to be roughly 100 times faster than the average best speed (across all local providers here) that you can get now.

If I could safely drive the 140 or so miles to Missoula 100 times faster than I do now, I could get there in 15 minutes. Would that change the economy of your area? Probably.

BUT that’s really only 10 times faster.

At 100 times faster, I could be in Missoula in slightly more than 90 seconds and Billings or Seattle in less than 5 minutes. Thanks Dr. Porsche!

The obvious question

“What would you do with that kind of bandwidth? You can’t even use it all.”

Yeah and all I need is 640 meg of RAM, right Mr. Gates?

Horse biscuits.

So what *would* I do with all that bandwidth?

Here are a few people who’d impacted by it: radiologists, remote medical clinics, telecommuting programmers, doctors (especially remote ones), graphic artists, video editors and other creative types, corporate educators, K-12 and other educators, among others.

Oh and maybe something related to that health care bill a few people have been talking about.

If you take that bill and you shake the business out of it, you’ll find a massive pile of programming projects and medical technology opportunities.

Remember how things changed when “everyone” could afford a refrigerator?

Consider that effectively removing (for now, at least) the impact on work and more importantly, the design thought process, if bandwidth constraints were no longer a design consideration. Kinda like someone inventing a cheap fridge and giving it to a caveman.


Maybe we’d eventually be overrun with geeks, but you know what else we’d be overrun with?

Jobs. Someone has to manage the geeks. Someone has to feed them. Sell them a car. Run their servers. Plow their parking lots. Build their homes. Teach their kids. Pour their beer. Serve their meals. Drive their families to the airport. Do their taxes. Divorce them. Marry them. And so on.

Oddly enough, situations like this tend to mushroom. Some of those people quit the companies that brought them here and start something more important (to them, and maybe to us).

If it seems like a long shot, consider what happens if the community that gets that service happens to compete with 6 (or 60) of the best / biggest / strongest / most innovative employers in your area.

Or with you.

Suddenly, that community is the hottest thing going. It’s in the news. Confidence there soars. Home prices start to rise, allowing upside down homeowners to get out if they want. Everyone wants to move their business there. All that stuff.

Coulda been your town.

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