In February, Google announced plans to build “ultra high speed” Internet connections for 50,000 to 500,000 people in one or more cities around the country. To help Google decide which city to choose, they asked cities around the country to fill out an extensive request for information and get the community behind the effort.
Ever since I heard about Google’s plans, I thought Madison would be a great fit. Madison is a pioneer in fiber technology, has a huge, highly rated public university and has been at the forefront of biotechnology innovation. Lately, more technology companies are getting their start in Madison, including a few that have been extremely successful. Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Madison and these new companies will have a huge leg up if Google were to build its network in town.
The Google Fiber effort has really brought the community together. For the last month, I’ve been working with a group in Madison to help bring Google Fiber to town. We’ve created a website, madfiber.net, which includes a Google map where anyone in Madison can show their support and have a point plotted on the map. We’ve created a YouTube channel and gotten community support by creating a place where people can upload posts, videos and pictures of why they support google fiber in Madison. We’ve also gotten great support on Facebook and Twitter.
I was also able to continue helping the effort, and at the same time check something off my bucket list, when Jesse Davis and I came up with idea to create an ice cream flavor to support Google Fiber. We pitched vanilla ice cream, google colored m&ms and sweet granola for the fiber. The amazing people at Babcock made it happen and the flavor is delicious. It was even mentioned in today’s New York Times in an article about fun things cities around the country are doing to bring google fiber to town. As a native Wisconsinite, this is truely one of my favorite achievements.
I know that Google Fiber will help everyone in Madison, but it will benefit me as a startup founder even more than most. If we had Google Fiber in Madison, I believe I would be able to get more done with my startup, Entrustet. We would be able to do multiple video conferences with all of our contractors and board of advisors on a super fast internet connection, instead of having to turn off the video on skype because our connection cannot keep up. We’d be able to hire more amazing developers because Madison would be a new, high tech city. I’m excited by everything that Google Fiber can bring to Madison.
Whether Madison gets Google Fiber or not, I can say that it has been a great experience, both for me and for the City of Madison. The effort has brought together people from government, schools, the university, startups, community organizers, big companies and everyone in between. Madison’s effort shows what we can do. Even if Google does not choose Madison, we should make sure to keep the effort going so that we do not lose these new connenctions and opprtunies to make Madison stronger.
Show your support by going to Madfiber.net and filling out a nomination form!