Communities around the country, including Greenville, have been disappointed by Google's decision to delay announcing the winner of the "free fiber" competition.
Greenville began heavily pitching the woo at Google last spring when the "We are feeling lucky" campaign and website was launched. In March came the Google on Main event where more than 2000 supporters were handed glo-sticks and positioned in Falls River Park to spell out Google.
There is a lot at stake in Google's decision. More than 1,100 communities were vying to be the pilot city for this project. Topeka renamed itself Google and Florida renamed an outlying Island for the search giant. Greenville, however, sits in the top 20 communities by all accounts.
A fiber network would be roughly 100 times faster than what we have access to today. What will we do with all that speed? It's tempting to think of entertainment options like streaming media and gaming. But that's limiting thinking. Think about medical imaging shared across town or across the world so a specialist in LA can consult on a case in Greenville. Think education opportunities with classrooms wired for mass communications. Think about being able to expand business opportunities far beyond the physical and geographical limitations.
Part of Google's goal with this project is to see what developers will come up with when they are no longer constrained by bandwidth. That brings new businesses, creative and innovative talent, and cutting edge technology to the area that gets Google's nod.
It will now be early 2011 before we find out what's on Google's mind. But win or lose, the barriers to major technological innovations are getting ready to be overrun with talents, skills, imagination and innovation. We'd better be ready.