Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

City of Ann Arbor, U-M issue community ‘A2Fiber’ call to action

Leaders of the effort to convince Google to pick Ann Arbor for one of its ultrahigh-speed broadband networks have issued a "call to action" to get the community involved in the project.

The city of Ann Arbor and U-M are teaming up to meet Google's March 26 deadline to complete a Request for Information as part of the Internet search company's Fiber for Communities effort. Google has indicated that a major component of the selection process will be the strength of the community support and participation.

Google will pick a number of communities in which it will install a broadband network that would stream data at 1 gigabit per second, or about 100 times faster than cable or DSL providers.

"We are excited by this opportunity to partner with other leaders in our community — and to hear from our residents — demonstrating why Google should select Ann Arbor as the ideal location for making better and faster Internet for everyone a reality," says Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje.

Aside from faster and better Internet for residents and students, a Google fiber optic network in Ann Arbor would make the area even more desirable for companies wanting to relocate. Faster connectivity coupled with the city's highly educated population and its long tradition of innovation and entrepreneurship could be a catalyst for retaining talent and business in the region.

"The University of Michigan is working closely with industry, government and other universities to catalyze Michigan's transformation to a new, more diverse and dynamic economy," President Mary Sue Coleman says. "Access to ultrahigh-speed broadband networks in our area would be a significant spur to communication, cooperation and innovation in our community and beyond."

While the city-university team works to answer all of Google's questions, Hieftje and Coleman are asking community residents to join in the effort by telling Google why Ann Arbor is the perfect fit for its program. Utilizing the social media tools available at www.a2fiber.com and submitting a community group/resident nomination form is vital to the success of Ann Arbor's bid to be selected as a trial location for Google's Fiber for Communities program. Residents are being urged to:

• Go to www.a2fiber.com to learn about multiple ways you can help spread the word about this project and tell Google why Ann Arbor should be chosen.

• Nominate your community at www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/public/options.

• Create your own video on YouTube at www.youtube.com/a2fiber.

• Become an A2 Fiber Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/a2fiber.

• Follow A2 Fiber on Twitter at www.twitter.com/a2fiber.

• Sign up to receive A2 Fiber e-mail notifications at www.a2gov.org/services/Pages/E-mailAlertSubscription.aspx.

• Tell everyone you know to do the same.

The city of Ann Arbor and U-M have proven technology track records and many assets that could positively benefit a Google broadband project, including an existing fiber network that connects every school, college and major government building in the city.

A 2009 Citizen Survey results emphasize Ann Arbor residents' high-tech capacity: 95 percent of respondents stated they use the Internet; 88 percent use the Internet to make purchases; and 59 percent use the Internet to conduct business with the city.