Nevada City Virtual Tour

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Union Article on the Nevada City Google Internet Plan

Judging from the posts on the Web site, western Nevada County residents have no trouble understanding how an ultra-fast, one-gigabit-per-second Internet connection would change their community.

“We'd start a post-urban trend of high-tech rural living,” one site visitor wrote.

They wrote about video conferencing, telecommuting and the boon the speeds would be for social services and schools.

“What wouldn't we do with all that extra time we used to spend waiting for things to load!” another visitor wrote.

Momentum is building for a rally, march and party set to start at 1:00 p.m. Sunday in downtown Nevada City's Robinson Plaza. By Thursday afternoon, the group's Facebook page had 675 fans.

The march will be filmed and edited into a short YouTube video that will be part of a detailed application submitted to Google later this month. If Nevada County is selected, Google will test out the fiber technology that would allow Internet speeds 100 times faster than broadband through the Google Fiber for Communities project.

Already, an eclectic coalition is marching Sunday to show support. A fire truck, a peloton of cyclists and various clubs are planning on attending. Several bands and Grass Valley Taiko drummers will play at the pre-event rally and post-march party at the Miners Foundry.

“It seems like a real community effort,” said Nevada Chamber of Commerce Executive Manager Cathy Whittlesey, who is helping organize the march. “People say, ‘Wow, 100 times faster!'”

Organizer John Paul said his goal is helping people understand how powerful the technology can be. He'll be making a visual analogy at the rally to demonstrate the difference: If dial-up is like juggling ping-pong balls, Google fiber is like juggling beach balls 12 feet across.

That kind of technological leap is something people of all stripes can celebrate.

“One thing that unites our community is desire to have faster Internet,” said Paul, co-owner of high-speed provider Spiral Internet. He is based in Nevada City and has pushed for improved Internet access countywide.

“Having fast Internet is key, no matter where you stand religiously or politically,” Paul added.

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