Google Gigabit rally in Nevada City on Sunday

In a neighborhood where we can’t even tap into a 3G wireless network with an iPhone, it would be ultra-cool for our family to get a one gigabit fiber optic service.

Nevada City will host a rally, march and party on Sunday to show community-wide support for a proposal dubbed 95959google to land the service here. It will be held at 1 p.m. at Robinson Plaza in the historic district.

“Western Nevada County is the ideal rural beta site,” said Chip Carman of Spiral Internet, which is spearheading the campaign. “We would be a great companion to an urban deployment of Google Fiber.”

There are some compelling historic reasons, as well as existing ones:

•The first long-distance commercial telephone call occurred here during the Gold Rush, in 1878.

•The first telephone network, consisting of five phones, operated here as well.

•In the ’60s Grass Valley Group created the HD broadcast video industry here.

We still are a mecca for HD. We also have many tech savvy, creative and educated residents who can help test the service.

The 95959google initiative also will encompass neighboring Grass Valley, where we have a hospital and community college campus.

This is the kind of grassroots initiative that has helped put Nevada City on the map as a leader in energy conservation. The city has more solar installations per capita than any other California city.

Spiral previously has teamed up with the county Economic Resource Council and Broadband Leadership Council to look for technical and financial solutions to expand broadband access here with an initiative called Nevada County Connected.

HIgh-speed internet access is a cornerstone to economic development in our rural community.

For its part, Google is planning to target a small number of communities, encompassing between 50,000 and 500,000 households.

It faces some hurdles in building a potentially $1 billion network, including providing content as well as infrastructure challenges.

“We know that other companies have been in the business a long time,” a Google spokesman told the Wall Street Journal this week. “We’re not pretending to have all the answers.”

In Cleveland, an initiative is underway that would connect 104 houses, several hospitals and Caste Western Reserve University to a 1-gigabit per second service, according to the Journal. It is expected to go live this month.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

11 thoughts on “Google Gigabit rally in Nevada City on Sunday”

  1. I don’t know if I support this or not. If this was implemented would I have to dump my current ISP to use it? What would be the cost? Does it support all hardware currently available? To me, a lot more technical information needs to be communicated for it to be understood by normally skeptical people like me. My current internet provider is pretty fast and I am satisfied with it. Also, I have no intention of downloading the entire content of the Library of Congress in the near future.

  2. Having a gigabit backbone is completely compatible with your local home network without any change of equipment in your home. The issue of how to step the bandwidth down to your existing equipment through routers and switches, etc, would be part of the infrastructure requirement of the project.

    This is not necessarily new technology. For instance, Stanford University began running a 10-gigabit backbone in 2007, while local university departments could continue to run at whatever bandwidth they were running before that conversion.

    By the way, if you have a suggestion for how this project could benefit the community as a whole, you may enter that idea directly into the webpage at

    I was thinking of some sort of remote medical care for the elderly (the Devil, as always, would be in the details, which I haven’t thought out at all). Or, remote sharing of medical data between various providers in the county.

    How about enhanced video conferencing between the towns in the county (I saw firsthand how dodgy it was during a couple of the library committee meetings).


  3. Google states in their Request for Information application that “We’ll operate an ‘open access’ network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we’ll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory, and transparent way.” It is our hope that Google will enable local ISPs to sell the 1Gbps service to their customer base.

  4. As I type this, my satellite internet has gone out. We are desperate for another solution, but are getting another satellite internet dish installed in a few days. In the mean time, I’m on dial-up and the fact I can use this site and post is the exception, rather than the rule.

    If we get the Google, and its a big “if”, I can’t wait to see AT&T and Comcast scramble to serve the areas they currently don’t give a dang about.

  5. Gail, what are you referring to you when you say get Google internet? Are you referring to the Google Fiberoptic networks that Google is talking about testing. If so, wow, I didn’t realize they were this close to implementing this.

  6. The Mercury article is interesting, especially the reference to Palo Alto, birthplace — in a sense — of Google (Stanford, actually), so probably a good candidate.

    As a resident of Palo Alto for most of the last forty years, and of Nevada County only in the last several, my loyalties should be mixed. But I’m rooting for Nevada City (and County) flat out.

  7. I certainly hope Google chooses Nevada City and Nevada County. It would be a significant boom. It’s great to see local organizations, businesses, and county residents working together to convince Google to select this area. One hopes that they visit and just see how the geography really plays into what they’re trying to accomplish by bringing ultra fast Internet access to rural and other types of areas.

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