Google pulls a Grinch and steals our fiber announcement


Oh Google, how you disappoint us.

Duluth and other Minnesota cities that applied to be home to a super-high-speed fiber network promised by Google are being forced to wait until next year for a decision. Google has concluded it got too many applications. From Google:

Earlier this year we announced an experiment we hope will help make Internet access better and faster for everyone: to provide a community with ultra high-speed broadband, 100 times faster than what most people have access to today…

We had planned to announce our selected community or communities by the end of this year, but the level of interest was incredible–nearly 1,100 communities across the country responded to our announcement–and exceeded our expectations. While we’re moving ahead full steam on this project, we’re not quite ready to make that announcement.

We’re sorry for this delay, but we want to make sure we get this right. To be clear, we’re not re-opening our selection process–we simply need more time to decide than we’d anticipated. Stay tuned for an announcement in early 2011.

It’s hard to handicap the contest, but Duluth appears to have a decent shot, according to a recent MPR News report by Tim Nelson.

And take a look at the map above (provided by Google). Those darker circles are a measure of community interest in the fiber network.

If the large number of applications is the real reason for the delay it seems like Google should have been able to anticipate the problem and announce the delay earlier. It’s worth at least wondering if Google has been less committed to the fiber project than it appeared, and what its level of enthusiasm is going forward.

  • Jim Shapiro

    In other words, someone at google dropped the ball and the project has been delayed. Best of luck to Duluth.

  • Gumby

    Or it gives Gooooogle a bit more news media mileage.

  • bri-bri

    Given the state of the economy (and thus most cities’ budgets), I’m amazed they only received 1100 applications. “Free infrastructure” is the municipal equivalent of “free beer” – who wouldn’t want a piece of the action?