Guest Opinion: How you can help Palo Alto win Google Open Fiber | March 5, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - March 5, 2010

Guest Opinion: How you can help Palo Alto win Google Open Fiber

by Bob Harrington

Palo Alto needs your help now to land a 'game changing' offer.

Palo Alto has a special opportunity to bring even more benefits to our community — and the world — thanks to an innovative offer to selected cities from Google. Should we be selected it could represent a $50 million investment in Palo Alto by Google. That translates into about $2,000 for every premise in town.

Google seems willing to invest millions to develop "Google Open Fiber" test networks in selected cities delivering 1 gigabit-per-second speed to every place in town. That is 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today.

Rock solid reliability, super low prices, choice, speed, competition — that's what Google Open Fiber may offer. 

Google will select the community or communities they want to work with based on the nominations they receive.

Google is accepting nominations from cities — a compelling submission will be made by the City of Palo Alto.

Google is also accepting nominations from citizens and community groups who want Google Open Fiber for their community.

Here's where you come in: every citizen is needed — that means you — to help Palo Alto win.

Here's how: Residents, businesses, employees; volunteers, students and every community group in Palo Alto should simply click a Google button nominating Palo Alto. Then write, "I want Google Open Fiber for Palo Alto." Add reasons why you think Palo Alto should be selected by Google — lower prices, blazing speed, rock-solid reliability, choice, competition, builds community, uses not yet known. Finally, click "send nomination." The Google button is: ,

Do it now, submissions may be made until March 26.

Palo Alto has a tremendous history of being an international leader when it comes to creating new technologies. Many of our innovations and great ideas come from the people who live and work in our city.

There are few other places in our nation, or the world for that matter, where you can find a garage that was christened a historic monument because it was the birthplace, not just of Hewlett Packard, but the very spirit that created Silicon Valley itself.

Today, that spirit is not only alive, it thrives in Palo Alto. Our citizens continue to create — from our homes, garages, offices and businesses — new and innovative breakthroughs for the world in technology, health care, medicine, business and the environment. Think nanotech, biotech, cleantech.

There are tremendous benefits for us — and for Google — when Palo Alto is selected. For Palo Alto, it will help our city continue to be a leader in Silicon Valley innovation and technology. For Google, the company gets the best and brightest of Palo Alto to bring new, bold entrepreneurial ideas to create new world-changing technologies.

Ask yourself: Would I like a Google public/private partnership to, in effect, invest $2,000 in my place as well as in every premise in every neighborhood in our community, plus hook-up every business, school, non-profit, faith-based organization (you get the idea) as well?

When you study it closely, as I have, deciding to support Palo Alto for Google Open Fiber becomes the biggest no-brainer in history.

Risk to our city approaches zero. Yet our entire community will benefit from open fiber from day one.

Here are the benefits for all of us.

Everyone wins with lower prices. Tantalizingly low prices are likely to entice you to sign-up quickly. But here's the real payoff for everyone. Whether you voluntarily subscribe to a fiber service or not, everyone in the market served by Google Open Fiber will likely be offered lower prices, not just from Google but also from the incumbent service providers. Like 25 percent lower for starters. 

Google wins, too. Should Google select Palo Alto for its open fiber program, it will be getting the most technologically friendly and entrepreneurial-minded city on the planet to be their partner. The City of Palo Alto will work hand in hand with Google to ensure that its open fiber program gets up and running efficiently and fast with the full support of the city staff and residents.

Open means open to all comers. Fiber means virtually unlimited capacity. Coupling them with 1 gigabit speed creates an awesome competitive environment.

Choice. Google, the number-one brand in the world, is likely to attract the finest services to Palo Alto and this world-class test-bed.

Speed. Blazing-fast 1 gigabit symmetric speeds — symmetric means the same speed both ways, download and upload. No throttling of upload speed like the incumbents. Everyone can send giant files (photos, x-rays, videos , all in full screen HD), host your own website, or whatever is in your wildest dreams.

Video experience. Click any news outlet on the Web today. Video is everywhere. But it is still the size of a postcard. Think back to dial-up, when photos were postage-stamp size. Google Open Fiber will fill your entire wide screen with HD video, soon HD 3D video.

Innovation brings positive surprises and world-class services. Example: The world today relies on an 11-year-old for much of its news and information. Google has yet to celebrate its 12th birthday, Facebook is just 6, YouTube 5. Each one a 'Wow' experience, each one growing here.

We are on a roll. Let's keep our innovation ball rolling by adding a powerful new tool, Google Open Fiber.

As you can see, I am personally excited and talking to my friends about this opportunity for Palo Alto. I hope you do, too. Please join the City of Palo Alto, its elected leaders, me and many other civic leaders, schools, students, non-profits, entrepreneurs, the young, the old, and the bold-minded in supporting Palo Alto's selection for the Google Open Fiber project.

Let Google know how important this is to our community now. If you are a citizen or a community group, click on the Google button and nominate Palo Alto at: .

Let's keep Palo Alto the enduring symbol of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

The deadline is March 26. But please don't wait until the last minute — act now.

Bob Harrington has been a close follower of discussions about high-speed fiber-optic possibilities for Palo Alto for more than 10 years. He presently is adviser to the mayor on broadband issues. He can be e-mailed at


Like this comment
Posted by Mark
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:28 am

Makes sense to me.

Just joined a new Facebook fan site: Palo Alto for Google Fiber Web Link

Fierce-fast fiber is what I want. Wouldn't mind saving a few bucks in the process. I'm nominating Palo Alto and asking my friends and service club members to do the same Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Need more info
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

What would be the cost to the user, and what would be the cost to the city?

Like this comment
Posted by Charlie
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 5, 2010 at 11:49 am

I first found info on local site iPaloAlto Web Link

I note the comment above: 'Everyone wins with lower prices. Tantalizingly low prices are likely to entice you to sign-up quickly. But here's the real payoff for everyone. Whether you voluntarily subscribe to a fiber service or not, everyone in the market served by Google Open Fiber will likely be offered lower prices, not just from Google but also from the incumbent service providers. Like 25 percent lower for starters.'

I agree. Comcast and AT&T may see open fiber as a competitor even tho they could choose to join the fiber network themselves. It is, after all, open to all. If they choose to go it alone, they will have to bomb their prices to have any hope of retaining their customers.

Sharply lower pricing has occurred in every American market once a municipal fiber network like this goes in. Predatory pricing is among their first responses, after Comcast and AT&T roll out their FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) campaigns.

Expect to see their negative posts soon disguised as local citizens in this Town Square thread. FUD has been in virtually every other fiber story thread on Town Square since the beginning.

Like this comment
Posted by Carroll Harrington
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Gigabytes of gratitude to Bob Harrington (no relation) for his prodigious efforts to get broadband access for Palo Alto. I was in the Fiber to the Home Trial, and the internet connection was fast, seamless and reliable. I urge you to go to iPaloAlto (Web Link) and nominate Palo Alto for Google Open Fiber. THEN send Bob's Guest Opinion to your friends and colleagues urging them to do the same. Think how terrific it will be to have a rainbow of fiber connections in our community.

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