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March 30, 2011 UPDATE

We’ve all probably heard the news by now that Google has announced their selection of Kansas City as the location for their fiber to the home testbed project.  While this is disappointing for all of the remaining 1,000 communities who applied for that honor, it can continue to serve as a motivation and inspiration for continuing our efforts at enhancing broadband connectivity in Blacksburg.

For those of you who want to read up on the  Google decision, and related implications, speculations, and imaginations, here is a collection of recent articles that Jim Baller recently included on his daily email list.  (Jim Baller is a Washington DC based attorney who works with municipalities who build their own network infrastructure around the country and is considered a champion of rural broadband.)

More on Google’s selection of
Kansas City, KS

Light Reading

MuniWireless

Ars Technica

Communications Technology

Craig Settles

“Will Google pick additional fiber
cities?”

Broadband Reports

“Google is not the only route to a
fiber city” – “What do we need
Google for anyway?”

Redding Record Searchlight

 
 
 
On March 19, 2011, the Blacksburg Electronic Village, Inc. and the Town of Blacksburg co-sponsored a community forum entitled "Broadband 2015".  The purpose of the event was to create awareness in the community about opportunities and needs with regard to high speed Internet connectivity to homes and businesses.  The forum program allowed attendees to:
 
  • Learn about the Town of Blacksburg's Vision for communications network infrastructure and its goals by year 2015.
  • Listen and participate in presentations by members of our community who will give examples of innovative uses of broadband and what the future holds for businesses, education, the arts, healthcare, and more.
  • Meet our community's private sector telecommunications providers and discuss your needs and interests with them.
  • See a demo of the Federally-funded broadband mapping initiative and how you can contribute broadband data for the FCC's National Broadband Plan.
  • Learn about "3-D Blacksburg" and see examples of ways in which technology can enhance commerce, education, and tourism.
Now the hard work begins.  As explained in the Roanoke Times article about the event, published in The Current on March 22, 2011, we as a community need to come together to determine our broadband future.  We need to develop a roadmap that enables Blacksburg, and the surrounding region, to reach that vision of Gigabit per second access by the year 2015.  As a first step, we invite you to provide feedback, ideas, and interest in starting a working group focused on any of the topics that were presented and discussed during the forum.  To do so, start here.  This enables you to provide us with your email address, along with other basic information (no personal information is required) so that we may contact you as specific opportunities or ideas begin to coalesce and develop. 
 
In addition, please keep an eye on this website for continued information about broadband activities that may be of interest to you.  Feel free to submit your own activities or innovative uses of broadband and we will add those to our repository going forward.
 
Speaking of going forward, you may want to take a look at the "FutureForward Blacksburg" video that was posted to Youtube as part of Blacksburg's submission to the Google Fiber for Communities project.  Let Google know that Blacksburg is paying attention to their fiber project by posting a message on their discussion board at https://groups.google.com/group/fiber-for-communities