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.

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I spent most of last night awake and working frantically on this big announcement by Philly Startup Leaders. We felt we had to act immediately if Philly’s effort to bring gigabit broadband here was going to succeed. We also thought that whether or not Google chooses Philadelphia, this is an opportunity to shine a worldwide light on our grassroots tech and creative communities.

Here’s a summary of the announcement with a link to the full version:

Philly Startup Leaders needs your help to do something big for Philly. Really big.
We’re pledging $5,000 toward a prize for the best gigabit idea submitted on Gigabit Philly. This is all the money we have available as an organization — it’s our savings for the last two and half years. We need you and the city to match it.

The Google gigabit competition is a golden opportunity to prove that we have the best grassroots tech and creative community in the world. Our grassroots communities have already started the campaign with Gigabit Philly, a website that collects your big ideas for how to harness gigabit connectivity to change the world.

Yet we will fail in this campaign unless we do something dramatic. We have to show Google what’s special about Philly. And we haven’t done that so far.

So Philly Startup Leaders is taking a gamble on Gigabit Philly, and we need your help. Our $5,000 pledge is just the beginning. We need our donation to spark a wave of pledges large and small that will draw worldwide attention to Philly. This prize will help us generate hundreds if not thousands of big ideas on Gigabit Philly from all over the world.

Make a pledge now and send the full announcement to everyone you know. We need help from every one of you!

Here’s the link to share: http://phillystartupleaders.org/news/philly-startup-leaders-goes-all-in-for-gigabit-philly/

We literally went from idea to launch in about 12 hours. At 9pm last night, a group of us were sitting at the Philly Startup Leaders fishbowl event with an idea, and by 9am this morning our announcement was live.

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