Why did they lobby so hard? Why did one mayor swim with sharks to entice Google fiber? Because these local leaders know that fast fiber would stimulate serious job growth.
Part of Google’s project involves experimental techniques for providing fiber services, including a “micro-trenching” contest to see who could invent the best system for digging cable trenches.
By partnering with Google, the US Federal Government could take advantage of the brilliant thinking and entrepreneurial approach that Google has already exhibited.
But by funding not just one city, but hundreds, a fiber project could retro-fit American telecommunications to reap the following benefits:
• Enable unemployed Americans to start their own small businesses with a bandwidth advantage over other global competitors.
• Facilitate telecommuting, which makes companies more efficient, enables people to earn less but live better because they can live in less expensive areas.
• Enable companies (like Google, actually) to invent radically better services for small businesses, thus giving them a boost.
• Make the United States a better place for American and foreign companies to invest, and build offices and factories.
• Enable an entirely new class of technology startups that aren’t possible given today’s slow, unreliable Internet connections to homes.
• Provide employment for thousands of people needed to dig the trenches and lay the fiber.
Note that fast fiber facilitates all kinds of new businesses, not just tech startups. People can teach music or cooking lessons via Google+ to anyone in the world, sell their home-made foods and products and market them with high-quality video around the world and generally compete in the global marketplace with the advantage of gigabit Internet connectivity.
Laid-off executive assistants can become virtual assistants for executives worldwide. Older workers can offer their long experience to startups as consultants. The implementation of Google’s Fiber for Communities project nationwide opens up thousands of new possibilities for the chronically unemployed to work for themselves and simultaneously help re-invent the economy.
This investment in startups could be bolstered by other initiatives, such as microloans for startups, educational grants for schools and colleges teaching entrepreneurship and other initiatives.
Once fast fiber and a focus on startups jump-starts the American economy by turning the nation into one giant Silicon Valley, then we’ll have the money to fix the bridges and pave the roads.
And who knows? Maybe one of these new startups will become the next Google.