Techies Optimistic S.F. Will Enter Google Fiber Sweepstakes

The city's technology mavens are anticipating the Board of Supervisors will tomorrow give them the go-ahead to enter Google's much-ballyhooed fiber sweepstakes.

A sub-committee of supes last week unanimously sent a motion to the full board recommending San Francisco get in on Google's game. The Mountain View company and verb has sent municipalities nationwide into a tizzy with the announcement it will build one lucky city its own "Google Fiber Network" to prove the large-scale feasibility of its new technology. If the Google people are to be taken at their word, San Francisco's bevy of onerous hurdles for would-be developers to contend with might actually work in the city's favor. Truly, if Google can build a working system in San Francisco, they can get it done anywhere.

The city is currently served by Comcast's hybrid fiber-coaxial cable network and AT&T's largely copper system.

There is one hitch, though: Google's rules for the contest limit entrants to cities of 500,000 residents or fewer (like St. Louis!). San Francisco has more than 800,000 denizens. What's the city to do? Well, they're still working on that.

Brian Roberts, the Department of Technology's senior policy analyst, said the city would probably propose to just operate a fiber network in one neighborhood -- though Roberts was unsure what neighborhood he would propose.

One thing he was pretty sure of, however, was that the supervisors will let him enter the Google sweepstakes.

"Since the sub-committee approved it unanimously, there's a good chance" the full board will go along, he said.

Whether Google wants anything to do with San Francisco, though -- that's something no one is certain of.

Photo (and Lego work)   | 
  Gayle Laakmann
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