Greater S.B. area will court Google

The latest “Google search” has attracted the attention of scores of medium sized communities across the U.S., including the South Bend area.

Google is searching for a place where it can offer ultra high-speed broadband access to a minimum of 50-thousand homes. The connections promise to deliver internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what Americans typically have access to today.

“So if you’re an individual that’s recovering from surgery, better to recover at home,” said Mary Jan Hedman of St. Joe Valley Metronet. “But you can very quickly transmit critical information, perhaps your heart rate, your blood pressure, your weight; get that directly to your physician your health care provider as opposed to actually going on site.”

The Google experiment has scores of medium sized communities across the U.S. competing for the fiber network.

A consolidated application will be submitted by South Bend, Mishawaka, and St. Joseph County.

Some communities have pulled out flashy Google gimmicks to attract attention. For instance, Topeka temporarily named itself Google, Kansas.

The South Bend, Mishawaka, and St. Joseph County application will rely on something more concrete.

“So this is a very reliable network and the fact that it’s already built out in 50-miles in the county then Google can go ahead and come in and just build off that in order to get into the homes,” said Hedman.

Hedman is speaking of the ground work that has already been laid by Metronet. “Metronet is a 50-plus miles of dark fiber optic cable that has been buried underground inside conduit, it’s carrier grade, in that it’s secure, very reliable, it’s monitored,” said Hedman.

Metronet was built to serve universities, hospitals, and businesses, but Hedman believes it would provide a perfect groundwork for the Google experiment.

“This is exactly the kind of model that Google wants to use,” Hedman concluded.

The local application is due by March 26th. As part of that application, local residents are being asked to participate in a survey on internet use.

The survey can be found at:

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