Baltimore’s push for Google Fiber is more than just how badly we want it

Baltimore Business Journal – by Tom Loveland
March 29, 2010

We’ve seen growing excitement in town ever since a handful of citizens mobilized to bring Google’s ultra high-speed Internet trial to Baltimore. Google Fiber has been a topic of conversation at dinner tables and board meetings across the city, inspiring creative thinkers from artists to executives.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake committed a team to help prepare our city’s response to Google’s request for information. Thousands of citizens, hundreds of corporate leaders, and dozens of nonprofit organizations and universities united behind the effort. The public/private partnership has worked efficiently and harmoniously. And today we submit our response.

While other cities have been pulling stunts to attract Google’s attention, we assembled a fact-driven presentation demonstrating how Baltimore in 2010 is uniquely suited to innovate with high-speed fiber infrastructure, benefiting not just our region, but also our country and the world.

We didn’t just stress “how badly we want this” — we built a concise, logical, and detailed case for why Google should want us.

• Baltimore’s per capita income growth is No. 1 among our nation’s 25 largest metro areas, and a recent report showed the downtown population increased 22 percent over a nine-year period ending in 2008, proving that Baltimore is on the rise.

• Baltimore, unique among municipalities, owns and operates nearly all of the conduit where fiber optic cables lie, allowing Google to deploy fiber without the cost or delay of negotiating and coordinating with third-party vendors.

• Baltimore’s unique, world-class institutions that produce huge amounts of data — like our medical universities including Johns Hopkins, the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Walters Art Museum (it’s true) — are a boon for Google, whose mission is to organize the world’s information.

• Baltimore has one of the highest concentrations of professional, scientific and technical employees in the country, and a growing entrepreneurial and creative class, confirming we have the talent to innovate and create the next generation applications Google hopes to inspire.

And there is plenty more to tell. As we all have imagined what we could do with such bandwidth, we collectively have articulated a powerful vision for the future of Baltimore.

• Imagine medical professionals interacting remotely with patients, improving outcomes while reducing costs.

• Imagine city students learning from the best teachers anywhere in the world, and getting personalized help right at home.

• Imagine visitors traveling to the Maryland Science Center from afar to step inside and interact with an immersive, three-dimensional model of the universe.

• Imagine Baltimore as a global innovation leader.

Imagine the entrepreneurs who would choose to build businesses here, instead of trying their luck elsewhere. Imagine the people who would be drawn magnetically to Baltimore to participate in this vibrant, experimental playground. Imagine dreams yet unimagined, coming to life here.

This vision isn’t going away.

View original in Baltimore Business Journal