Writings by a younger, less handsome man who shares my name

Google’s deadline has passed for communities to apply for an all-expenses-paid gigabit test network. So now what?

The 600+ communities who rallied for Google gigabit have fallen silent, including here in Philadelphia. This silence speaks volumes. If gigabit really matters, shouldn’t we still be talking about it on our own?

Do we really want gigabit, or do we just want to win Google’s favor?

I think we really want gigabit, and this is a golden opportunity – not only to bring gigabit to Philly, but also to show communities around the world how they can do the same.

The world needs someone to fill the gigabit vacuum left by Google. That someone should be Philly.

Gigabit is not about Google

Gigabit was never about Google. Google is only installing gigabit in one portion of one community. That leaves the rest of the 600+ communities who applied for Google’s gigabit experiment to fend for themselves.

Google drew worldwide attention to gigabit. Now the rest is up to us.

In Philadelphia, we know exactly what to do when people with money and power don’t step up to help us. Hell, that’s what’s been happening here for decades.

We do things ourselves.

I’m not saying that a bunch of entrepreneurs and hackers can wire our entire city with gigabit fiber ourselves. What I am saying is that we can create so much demand for gigabit that the people with money and power would be crazy not to invest in gigabit.

That’s the vision for Gigabit City.

Local gigabit deployments require global collaboration

Gigabit City is about moving beyond regional competition so that we can bring gigabit to all of our communities. Only one of our communities is going to get a Google fiber network. The rest of us need to do it ourselves.

The problem is, it’s damn near impossible to make the case for local gigabit deployments alone.

We need to generate so much demand for gigabit that our neighbors, elected officials and broadband companies can’t afford to ignore it. We need to show our communities why they can’t live without gigabit — how gigabit will revolutionize the way they live, work, play and communicate.

That’s going to take a whole lot of brainpower and creativity. More than any one community can muster alone.

That’s why we need to come together as a global creative community. And that’s why Philadelphia, a place known for organizing grassroots, do-it-yourself communities, can help.

Introducing Gigabit City: A global community of gigabit leaders

Gigabit City is our answer to the need for global collaboration. It’s a simple online community where leaders from around the world can make the case for local gigabit together.

Our shared case for gigabit starts with ideas for must-have gigabit applications.

These ideas will have our neighbors clamoring for gigabit. They will become the ammunition we use to lobby for gigabit locally.

We’re using Google Moderator to collect these ideas and our $10,000+ Gigabit Genius Grant to help drive submissions.

The $10,000+ Gigabit Genius Grant will be given to the best gigabit project as decided by community votes on our Google Moderator site and a panel of expert judges (learn more). You can submit your ideas here.

This cash prize should not dilute the collaborative spirit. Only one of us will win it, so it’s silly to participate for that reason alone.

The real prize is local gigabit. And that’s something we can all win together.

Spread the word and join the community

Gigabit City will only succeed if communities likes yours and ours come together. Here’s how we can all spread the word and grow the community:

  1. Join the discussion group. This is where the real conversation will happen.
  2. Share your ideas on Gigabit City. This is how we make the case for gigabit together.
  3. Send emails to your local community encouraging them to share their ideas
  4. Personally invite the people you respect most from your communities
  5. Follow Gigabit City on Twitter
  6. Become a fan on Facebook

Please, please, please: Make this community your own.

It’s not ours, it’s yours. The best we can do in Philadelphia is to set this community in motion. Only you can give it the momentum it needs to make gigabit an urgent priority in communities around the world.