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Making the Pitch to Google

Northwestern helps make case for putting super-speed Internet in Evanston

June 7, 2010
Thousands of cities are vying for the coveted Google partnership to access the Internet of the future, and Northwestern, in partnership with Evanston, made a compelling case why the City would be the ideal place for a super-speed Internet.

“I can think of few better places than Evanston for this venture,” said Joe Mambretti director of the International Center for Advanced Internet Research. “Northwestern is already connected to the world with an Internet speed comparable to what Google is offering. We could help Evanston connect to the world as well.”

Google plans to build and test an ultra-high-speed broadband network in a small number of trial locations across the country. According to Google, it would deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have today, leading to technological advancements only a handful of places around the world currently experience.

Without an institution like Northwestern, the ultra-high-speed Internet would be limited as few other areas of the country have the infrastructure to connect to this highly advanced global network.

“Google is offering the top tier of broadband technology,” Mambretti explained. “Because we already have this broadband connection with many institutions around the world, we could partner with Google and Evanston to expand this connection into the City.”

“We certainly would like to see Evanston get this,” said Tom Board, associate vice-president of cyber infrastructure. “It would have an enormous impact on a city that welcomes innovation.”

The proposed high-speed Internet has the potential to dramatically affect the local economy. According to Board, it would enable health care facilities, schools and businesses to experiment with innovations years before the rest of the country — innovations not possible with the current Internet.
“This is the future,” Mambretti said. “There will be no sector of the economy that isn’t primarily based on this type of digital technology.”

Cities had to submit a proposal back in March. Google plans to name its selections later this year.