As a city council member, I was intrigued by this prospect and immediately looked up the announcement and reviewed the application requirements.
I set up a facebook page named "Napa Needs its Fiber!" and John created a small website for residents to log support at napafiber.net.
Fast forward to this past Friday.
A furious editing session for an op-ed piece for the local newspaper on Google docs and Google wave - complete with six people writing and editing at the same time. It was intense and suggested a future where high speed connections could facilitate a full multi-media collaboration.
The Napa City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Google fiber application. Other local governments and agencies have also supported the application. Here's a draft - probably slightly different from what will be published:
Google is looking for places to install a fiber-optic network capable of 1 Gigabit per second speed for internet access. The 1 Gigabit speed is twenty times faster than the fastest premium cable modem service offered; and several hundred times faster than the average cable and DSL subscription. Google hopes that in the city where this network is installed it "will make Internet access better and faster for everyone" and will serve as a model world wide. The City of Napa is now working on an application to the Google Fiber for Communities project, and it must be completed by March 26th. If Napa is selected, all eyes will be on our city.
Why would this super high speed internet access be valuable and important for Napa? And why should Google consider Napa?
Consider the benefits to business, education, and the environment.
Having better speed may open up more opportunity for business attraction of clean industries in our corporate park and in our downtown business district. Retail, tech industries, manufacturing industries - it’s a tool to use for efficient business. Every school from kindergarten to the Napa Valley College will enjoy better access and new opportunities to engage and educate students by using 21st Century tools. It's an opportunity to improve our workforce, to bring jobs to Napa, to have Google employ local contractors as they build their network, and for residents to benefit both for leisure and business use. All opportunities equal a sustainable future.
Over the last 18 years in partnership with the Napa business community, Napa Valley Unified School District (NVUSD) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation our community has developed and sustained the nationally acclaimed Napa New Technology High School. We believe that the City of Napa is a critical partner in our efforts to continue to innovate and provide every student the opportunity to learn the essential skills they’ll need to be successful and productive in our society. Many of our families do not have access to high speed internet at home so the City of Napa winning the Google fiber grant would provide valuable educational resources to all of our students.
The Napa community has proven its commitment to large scale infrastructure improvements in the innovative $400 million dollar Napa River Flood Protection project. In the same way this community has played a role in revolutionizing flood control and the way the Corps of Engineers does business, we have the opportunity to break new ground in providing business, education and the general public unprecedented efficiency in accessing the information that is critical to success in today's world.
Because just saying we want it is not enough, we're asking you to register your support at our web site - napafiber dot net. With the registrations, we can say to Google: here are the subscribers to the Internet in Napa, you don't need a marketing study, this is the raw data you need.
Agencies can show their support by providing resolutions and letters demonstrating Napa's solid support for high speed fiber. Google needs an enthusiastic and unified community before it invests millions of dollars in the selected city's infrastructure.
We urge all residents and businesses in and near the City of Napa to show Google what working together can accomplish. Take these steps now and help make a difference in Napa.
Ad Hoc Committee to Bring Google Fiber to Napa
John L. Poole