Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dunwoody and the Great Gigabyte Oversight


By Mayor Mike Davis published in the Dunwoody Crier

Google recently announced the future launch of “ultra-high-speed broadband service” in nine metro Atlanta cities. But remarkably, Dunwoody was not on the list.

The company’s announcement, similar to recent proclamations from AT&T, didn’t reveal much more than a future promise of gigabyte speed service. While the “when and how much” are to be determined, the real question coming out of the flurry of media activity is “Why isn’t Dunwoody on the list?”

Measuring the number of letters and calls I received, it’s clear there’s broad interest in having these services offered in Dunwoody. And to address those inquiring minds – YES, the City of Dunwoody shares your interest and has actively pursued inclusion on the list of cities.

In fact, our efforts go back to 2010 when we ambitiously submitted the city’s original application for the Google Fiber project. Since Dunwoody was not included in Google’s initial announcement last year, we’ve persistently reached out to Google Fiber, as well as the cities that were shortlisted, to help determine how and when the company planned to bring this technology to the Atlanta area.

The question of “Why not Dunwoody?” has not been addressed precisely. When asked, we were informed: “…we wanted to make sure we didn't bite off more than we could chew. So, we had to draw the line somewhere.”

This is especially perplexing given our application and adjacency to selected cities, some of which did not exist or apply when the original RFI was issued.

We also reached out to AT&T regarding their U-verse with GigaPower initiative. The City has met with AT&T and provided all requested information as they too are considering which cities to add to their final targeted list for expansion.

I strongly believe Dunwoody is an appealing market for an array of broadband service providers. Our city has a streamlined construction permitting process and collaborative policies and procedures which make Dunwoody an attractive community for broadband companies to provide service.

Future interest in making connections available in Dunwoody will grow as companies move forward with identified plans. But it’s also important to remember this is not an overnight process.

Neither of the companies has shared details of their official selection criteria with us but as they study the neighboring communities, Dunwoody will be taking advantage of this opportunity to fully demonstrate itself as community prepared and ready for the technologies of the future. Our adjacency to selected cities, as well as the presence of existing fiber in parts of Dunwoody, bodes well for future service offerings and expansion.

While Google Fiber currently is not expanding its list of area cities, from observing the process unfold in Kansas City it’s highly likely their service provision expansion will ultimately continue once they have a foothold in the Atlanta market.

I’ll leave you with a call to action to run in tandem with the city’s efforts. Google may roll out service based on potential demand, so I would recommend interested Dunwoody residents follow the city’s energies and reach out to Google to let them know we’re here and we’re ready.

Visit https://fiber.google.com/cities/atlanta/home/ to log in your address and get updates on the future of Google Fiber. You can call (residential inquiries: (866) 777-7550 or Small Business inquiries: (855) 418-8326) or just send a letter to Google Fiber Customer Support 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, California 94043.

Let’s show a little Dunwoody pride and demonstrate how our voices, when brought together, can make a difference.

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