Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Pick us! Pick us!"

It's been six weeks since Google announced its plan to build a super-fast fiber network in one or more communities across the country. Communities have until tomorrow (March 26) to submit their bids. Boise, Meridian, and Nampa are teaming together to try and convince Google to "pick us! pick us!" I'm sorry to say, however, that we seem to be doing a fairly lame and belated job of it, unlike - say - Duluth.

However, there are very good reasons why Google ought to consider the Boise metro area's bid. Although we are the most geographically isolated metro area in the Lower 48 states, we have a strong history here of high-tech innovation. As Meridian's website says, "The Treasure Valley boasts the second most patents per capita in the country, it is the birthplace of the laser jet printer, and the home to the top semiconductor chip company in the country. We take pride in our innovation and creating our own destiny."

As well we must, given that our state's lopsided, reactionary political culture has been way more interested in laying asphalt than building broadband. So scoot on over to your city's website - Boise, Meridian or Nampa - to help show Google why a dose of fiber here would go a long way to create jobs and harness the power of the Treasure Valley's potential.

1 comment:

Julie Fanselow said...

Here's what I wrote to Google on why it ought to seriously consider Boise:

Boise is a very creative and tech-oriented place. Our entrepreneurs and creative thinkers would take full advantage of better broadband service.

You'd be making a great political statement by picking Boise. Our state political leaders are more interested in laying asphalt and greasing each others' palms than building broadband. But our local leaders have found good "work-arounds" to overcome the dominant political culture.

As an example, 57 percent of Boise voters supported a levy for local branch libraries a few years ago, but that wasn't enough to satisfy the onerous two-thirds majority hurdle set by the state. Working creatively - with existing, unused strip mall space for two branches and using green design principles for the third branch - the city found room in its budget to build three branch libraries. We are happily no longer the largest city in the nation without branch libraries.

Finally, you might pick the Treasure Valley for our children's sake. Southwest Idaho is home to nearly half the state's population, but the folks running the show in our state Legislature have cut education funding two years running. Better broadband would give our teachers and students a better chance to learn and share and innovate.