Richmond vies for high-speed internet test

By Heather Sullivan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You could surf the web or download video 50 to 100 times faster. The city of Richmond is one of many localities competing to be the test site for Google's experiment with a super high speed internet network.

Cities and counties all over the country, including Richmond, have just submitted applications to the be the test site for Google's super high speed internet network.

The city of Richmond hopes a video will make it stand out, along with the website, and an application to be the test site for super fast internet service.

"Google is looking at this as a way to test the next generation of applications, which are going to be those heavy data driven ones, such as medical imaging equipment, being able to use for doctors and other hospitals as well," said city management analyst Andreas Addison.

Schools, businesses, and individuals will be able to use the internet at one gigabit per second -- 50 to 100 times faster than what's currently available.

"When the mayor heard about this contest, he saw this as a way for the city to become a better Richmond, put itself in the technological revolution forefront, and be able to attract more new technology to the city, for people to come here for new jobs and other opportunities as well," he said.

Google has not revealed exactly how this project will be paid for, but says it will work with local internet providers and will offer service at a competitive price to 50,000 to 500,000 people.

"They're not clear for how they will use it for internet providers, but what we've seen as an open source, they would lay the network down and our internet service providers, Verizon, Comcast, etc., could use it as they see fit. There would be some fees involved, contracts, negotiations," Addison said.

Richmond's diverse population makes it an attractive test market for new products. For companies like Burger King, beer in pop-top cans, and Ariva smokeless cigarettes. The city hopes Google will be next.

Chesterfield, Caroline county, Colonial Heights, Charlottesville, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg are also applying. Google is expected to announce the test sites by the end of the year.

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