San Francisco plans to submit a proposal this week for Google Inc. to build a pilot high-speed broadband network in the city, according to the mayor’s office.
Google announced its plan for an experimental fiber network last month, and is looking for locations to test it. The Mountain View-based company hopes to provide communities with Internet speeds of one gigabit per second, 100 times faster than current speeds for most Internet users.
“We think San Francisco is a center of high technology and clean tech, biotechnology and life sciences,” said Tony Winnicker, spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom. “We think that it’s a great place to pilot and pioneer this broadband initiative.”
Winnicker said the city’s Department of Technology would submit a proposal by the end of the week, which is Google’s deadline in the competition.
Other cities have mounted high-profile campaigns, such as Topeka, Kan., which unofficially and temporarily renamed itself Google, Kan., this month.
“We respect the spirit of competition this initiative has inspired,” said Winnicker, “but with respect to other communities, we believe San Francisco already distinguishes itself by the companies and industries that are choosing to locate here, and by our diverse population.”
“And we’re looking forward to partnering with Google, should we have the opportunity,” he said.
In 2007, a bid to have Google set up a free wireless Internet network throughout the city was scuttled.
Today, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution urging the Department of Technology to submit a proposal for the broadband fiber network.
The resolution states that the Department of Technology has found that deploying a fiber network throughout San Francisco “has become a necessary and achievable goal in today’s high technology environment, and such deployment would provide immense social and economic benefits to San Francisco.”
A 2007 city estimate suggested building a network could cost the city more than $500 million and take up to 15 years, according to the resolution.
The Google network would come at no cost to the city, encourage innovation, and would be “open access,” the resolution says.