Miami Beach

Will Google test its high-speed network on the Beach?

Miami Beach’s free WIFI experiment may not be setting the world on fire, but at least our city commissioners are looking ahead. Wouldn’t it be something if the Beach and Belle Isle became a test site for an “ultra high-speed broadband network” planned by Google?

Here’s the background: On Feb. 10, Goodle announced it wanted to experiment with an ultra high-speed broadband network — 100 times faster than you can get at home. For geeks, the goal translates to 1 gigabit per second, for at least 50,000 households and as many as 500,000. Google asked local governments to raise their hands by March 28 if they are interested in becoming an experimental community. Competing areas will be evaluated and ranked by Google.

At its meeting on Wednesday, the city commission voted to vie for consideration. Among the criteria Google will review (according to a Miami Beach report to the mayor and commissioners): level of community support, local resources, weather conditions, regulatory issues, construction methods, broadband availability.

Cities around the country have taken the same first step as Miami Beach. There was a free webinar on the topic last week, and there is lots of buzz about it. It is pretty darned interesting, and we’ll try to keep track of how it affects Miami Beach and Belle Isle.

Here is a video from Google’s James Kelly explaining the initiative.

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