Smyrna in race for special 'Google speed'
by Nikki Wiley
March 03, 2014 12:02 AM | 669 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA - Google is eyeing Smyrna along with eight other metro Atlanta cities for an ultra high-speed broadband network.

Called Fiber, the service provides Internet connections up to 1,000 megabits per second, about 100 times faster than the American average broadband speed of 9.8 megabits.

That makes popular online activities, such as streaming games and movies, easier and cuts down on the amount of slow-loading websites, according to the company's website. Fiber also offers television services.

It's up and running in cities across the country including Kansas City, Mo., and Austin, Texas. It will come online in Provo, Utah, later this year. Other cities, like Portland, Ore., and Nashville, Tenn., are in Google's crosshairs.

Smyrna officials will spend their next three months undergoing joint planning with Google to determine what steps the city needs to take to be competitive against the other area cities under consideration, including Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville and Sandy Springs.

City Administrator Eric Taylor said his staff and Mayor Max Bacon will create a "fiber ready check list" with the company.

Google, the Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet mega-corporation, is looking for access to infrastructure, such as city rights of way, an expedited and easy to navigate permitting process and an inventory of the city's utilities.

"This is something we really want down here in Smyrna and we're willing to do whatever it takes to get it here," Taylor said.

But he said it's unlikely readying Smyrna for the high-speed Internet will cost the city anything. No economic development grants or incentives are being considered, he said, but the city will work to accommodate the company.

"We already have the right of way. It's city right of way. It doesn't cost the city anything," Taylor said.

Google Fiber would provide Smyrna residents with another option for Internet service, Taylor said, and make the city competitive when looking to attract companies that require high-speed Internet.

"Imagine the flexibility and opportunities this high-speed broadband access will give our citizens and businesses," said Bacon in a prepared statement. "Knowing that the places that have this speed of connectivity in abundance have become hot pockets of growth, development and advancement excites me."

Google will determine which cities will get the service by the end of the year.

"Communities with abundant high-speed Internet grow stronger because there's greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help students and families get access to essential resources," said Kevin Lo, general manager for Google Fiber.

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