A take action stance was the platform Flint and Genesee County took to nominate the area for the Google Fiber for Communities project. The project is a nationwide search Google is holding to determine in which community they will build their ultra-high-speed broadband network—a network that promises Internet speed 100 times faster than what is available today.
The Flint and Genesee County initiative was spearheaded by local volunteers from several local organizations. They built an aggressive plan that included submitting Google’s Request For Information (RFI) to compete for the project and building a Web site (www.flintareabroadband.net) to make it easier for community members to nominate Genesee County. They also obtained letters of support from every Genesee County city, township and village, conducted media events and sent out extensive e-mail blasts. Google stopped accepting community RFIs on March 26 at 8:00 p.m., and have stated they will make the selection before the end of 2010.
Completing the RFI for Google was a cooperative effort between Michigan Technology Network—Greater Flint, City of Flint, Convergent Technology Partners, LLC, Epic Technology Solutions, LLC, Flint Area Reinvestment Office, Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, Genesee Intermediate School District, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals Committee/PLUTO, Grand Blanc Township, and Mott Community College. (See complete list below.)
“Our goal was to make sure the RFI was completed on time, and most important, get as many people possible to nominate Genesee County online,” said John Foster, a group participant and co-owner of Convergent Technology Partners, LLC, a Flint-based technology firm.
The Flint and Genesee County Google Fiber for Communities project showed positive results. More than 102 organizations submitted online letters of support, signed by more than 250 individuals. And over 100 comments were submitted to Google on why they should bring their project to Genesee County. More than 2,000 fans participated on Social Media Web sites (Facebook, etc.), and posted 21 videos to YouTube endorsing the Flint and Genesee County area for the Google project.
From Detroit to Ann Arbor to Lansing, at least 10 of the state’s cities competed in the nationwide Google contest. Aside from the Internet speed that is 100 times faster than what is available today, the new technology will bring to the winning area access to high-definition video, distance learning, remote data storage and multi-media services allowing downloads of movies in less than five minutes.
“Genesee County actually has a head start on other communities,” noted Douglas Ford, Director of Information Technology for the Regional Chamber. “We’ve been actively pursuing high-speed access for years. In fact, we have our whole school system on fiber already, as well as some colleges.”
According to flintareabroadband.net, Genesee County is an ideal location for the Google project. The need is here. And diverse innovative talent is here.
“This is another example of how we can partner with organizations across Genesee County,” said Tim Herman, Regional Chamber CEO. “It is a win-win for Genesee County and Google.”
The local organizations participating in the Flint and Genesee County Google Fiber for Communities project: Michigan Technology Network—Greater Flint, City of Flint, Convergent Technology Partners, LLC, Epic Technology Solutions, LLC, Flint Area Reinvestment Office, Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission, Genesee Intermediate School District, Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce, the Young Professionals Committee/PLUTO, Grand Blanc Township, Mott Community College, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Clayton Township, Consumers Energy, Flint Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Genesee County Board of Commissioners, McLaren Regional Medical Center, Mundy Township, ROWE Professional Services Company, Technical Edge Inc., Trade Local and the University of Michigan-Flint.
Local residents can still show support for this initiative by going to www.flintareabroadband.net.