I know it's a long shot. I can't compete with Topeka and have the town selectmen rename our little town Google. I really can't offer Google much in the way of enticement to bring their broadband experiment out to the sticks of rural New England. But I nominated the two towns that form our regional school district as candidates for Google's gigabit broadband initiative anyway.
It would certainly make for a cool series of blogs, wouldn't it? Watching first-hand as engineers find ways to get high-speed fiber out to the middle of nowhere and making real progress toward the emerging national broadband plan would make for interesting reading and podcasts. I said as much in my nomination. When the questionnaire asked why Google should consider my town, I was more than happy to offer to "blog for broadband" (I've put it in quotes because I think this just might need to evolve into a campaign and it's a catchy slogan, don't you think?):
The towns of Athol and Royalston (the two towns included in our regional school district) represent typical towns in rural parts of this country. While Athol has been hit hard by the recession and downturns in local manufacturing (the town is home to Starrett Tools), Royalston is so remote that even the school relies on spotty, expensive aggregated 3mbps DSL lines; many residents still rely on dial-up.
I am also the ZDNet Education blogger and co-anchor of ZDNet's Google blog. I would commit to blogging the entire rollout process, acting as an impartial eye on the ground and, if Google's broadband was accessible to the schools, would blog about the impact of drastically improved connectivity in our small community. This represents an incredible opportunity for our small towns, a great set of stories for ZDNet, and solid PR for Google, as well a chance to run your broadband experiment in a rural community.
Like I said, it's a long shot. But think of the sort of video I could upload of the process, benefits, struggles, and successes if I had gigabit Internet coming to my door? People get excited about 3mbps DSL out here in the woods. Gigabit could be transformative for local industry, education, health care and even property values.
Seriously, Google...I will blog for broadband.