Summary:

Google today launched a site that has the effect of creating a community action network around better broadband, starting with the more than 200,000 people who have already weighed in hoping to convince the search giant to build its planned experimental fiber-to-the-home network in their towns.

Google today created a site to provide information about its broadband plans, and to encourage the thousands of people who submitted proposals to the company — trying to convince it to launch its experimental fiber-to-the-home network in their towns — to take action to improve broadband. In short, Google is trying to create a community-action network around better broadband, starting with the more than 200,000 people who have already weighed in hoping to get fatter pipes.

When Google announced its plans to build an experimental 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home network in February, I wrote that the search engine wasn’t just looking for new web applications, but also for information that it could disseminate in order to show people and governments what a modern broadband network should cost– possibly lighting a fire under ISPs who are reluctant to upgrade their networks. Its new site gives people and municipalities a match to help with that fire, by encouraging citizens to email their representative in Congress and by providing a list of helpful suggestions municipalities can implement to ensure that fiber-ready conduit is put in place during road construction.

None of these actions, or even Google’s planned network, will change the dismal competitive landscape in the U.S. overnight, but it’s certainly a start. And yes, Google still plans to announce which town gets its network before the end of the year.

Below is what I think of as the “we want fiber” montage created by Google — with the obligatory emotionally manipulative soundtrack.

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