Madison’s application for Google’s high-speech Internet technology got high marks from members of the Economic Development Committee, Wednesday, as the group heard updates on the proposal.
The new technology, called Google Fiber, is broadband Internet connection that promises to work up to 100 times faster than what is currently available.
City of Madison IT Director Paul Kronberger presented an update to the committee. Kronberger estimated Google could invest around $97 million in the community it chooses for the technology.
Many communities are applying to host the experiment, and City Council officially declared its support for the technology earlier this week.
Madison Metropolitan School District’s Division of Technical Services Director Mark Evans spoke with other parties in support of the technology after the meeting. Evans said he thinks the technology would benefit Madison’s 48 schools and the future entrepreneurs growing up in the district.
“This is one way we could potentially boost opportunity for the entire community,” Evans said of the 1-gigabite per second technology.
Nathan Lustig, co-founder of Entrustet.com, spoke to the committee regarding Google Fiber. He said there are few high-speed Internet choices in Madison, and there is great support from the business community to continue pursuing Google’s technology.
The Google update also drew Kyle Pfister of Dodge County. Pfister works for a local coalition that is committed to bringing broadband to rural areas. Pfister said he hopes the Google experiment will create a ripple effect and provide access to rural communities in the future.
Kronberger said a public meeting will be scheduled for late next week to get additional public input.
He added it will contain questions similar to Google’s Request for Information, so they can use responses on the application.
Google would offer the ultra high-speed Internet at prices competitive within the local market.
Google is looking to involve 50,000 to 500,000 people in its technology’s implementation, and Kronberger said Madison fits the bill.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said in a Feb. 12 blog post that Madison’s approximately 225,000 citizens would be ideal candidates for the technology.
“We have solid infrastructure to start with,” Kronberger said, adding the University of Wisconsin and high-tech and highly educated communities make up a good profile of potential users.
Kronberger said the Request for Information is due March 26. Multiple city agencies are working together to complete the application. Google has not disclosed when the selected city will be notified.
An update on the Economic Dashboard examined the proportion of taxable property in the city. The update revealed that about 50 percent of the acreage in the city is off tax rolls — the listing of taxable properties within a defined area. Ald. Mark Clear, District 19, noted some of these institutions do pay the city in other ways. Regardless, the consensus was the city must optimize the value of land assets
Correction: This article originally misspelled Entrustet.com. We regret the error.