The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids


Google has recently announced a contest to provide ultra-high speed broadband networks at a trial location or locations across America.  I first became aware of this when Grand Rapids began an initiative to get their city on the list.  The Grand Rapids community started promoting this through their Linkedin Group, news stories, a press release from the mayor’s office, a facebook page, and finally a technology group was set up to promote this initiative, Grand  Rapids Technology Partnership.  Now I thought to myself this should be a good thing to sign up and support GR by voting.  But I got to the vote page and when they asked me a reason why, I could not really come up with something, I only work in Grand Rapids and unfortunately I do not come up to Grand Rapids too often outside of work.

So I was quite happy to see Holland begin promoting the initiative to get the fiber network to town.  Holland has the press stories, they set up a webpage, twitter account, Facebook fan page, YouTube channel, and LinkedIn Group.  The whole campaign revolved around the clever “Fibertown” brand.  Which is nice to see some branding being applied instead of just lumping it together like Grand Rapids did (my opinion, of course).  Holland also looks like it has the www.takemetofibertown.com as the central hub of activity in order to promote and coordinate the push for the fiber wire.  For Grand Rapids it seems like their Grand Rapids Technology Partnership is the main hub of activity but it is not as clean of a look or as easy to navigate as the Holland page.  Plus I did not find any mention of the LinkedIn Grand Rapids page, and no formal twitter account or hashtag to promote, or YouTube channel to watch.  Maybe it helps by having the backing of the community utility company like Holland BPW and how they set up the FiberTown brand.  But Grand Rapids does have a couple of advantages one of which is time.  It started this initiative many weeks ago, where as Holland just started this week.  Plus Grand Rapids does have a much larger base of residents which will help its cause.  But if Hollanders can make a compelling case to Google, who knows what could happen.  Weirder things have happened like being voted 2nd happiest place in America.

So now the next important step is to vote,  but voting requires you to tell them a specific reason why Google should come to your town, and they also ask for a link to show some creativity (their example: a video).  I ended up voting for Holland yesterday.  I had also been able to quickly come up with a reason, unlike my previous struggle coming up with a reason for Grand Rapids.  My reason was “Hey this is Michigan, we need all the help we can get.  The fiber network would help spur development and investment in the area.”  Now this reason is something any Michigan community can claim so we need to come up with something more unique, and distinct to Holland. Here are a couple of ideas (so if you are a skilled video filmmaker or producer let me know):

Couple of ideas:

Holland was recently voted the 2nd most happiest residents in America, well the ultra-fast fiber network would make us first.

Holland residents have a huge fiber deficit and it is not because we are consistently voted among the top places to retire too.

Videos of all the empty or decrepit factories in the area, and asking to envision how it would look with the Google fiber network.

On the Facebook fan page, Craig Tommola commented “Best little test market there is ;)”, and you know what he is right.  West Michigan is known for their history as a test market.

Be sure to vote – http://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/public/options

So any other clever videos or other marketing efforts you have come across for either city? What are your thoughts on each city’s campaign? When you voted what was your reason given to support the community you voted for?

Edit:  Here is an article from The Economist on a small city in Virginia, and how a fiber network changed the town economically.  Could we expect the same from whatever city or cities land the Google Fiber Wire?

http://www.economist.com/world/united-states/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15549324

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5 responses to “The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids

  1. Holland must win. No longer will the wonderful but smaller town to the South and West play second fiddle to GR. C’mon Holland, let us show our neighbor what friendly rivalry means and dominate the battle for Google fiber in every home – and a Nexus One in every pocket! It’s a beautiful dream…

    • It would be nice to beat Grand Rapids, but I am guessing that we have a whole bunch more competition throughout the country. Hopefully Google is looking for a more reasonably sized town (i.e Holland sized) in order to install the wires.

  2. Pingback: List of Cities Vying for Google’s Gigabit Project | zettaphile.com - BIGGER IS BETTER

  3. sorry holland, but you’re goin down.

  4. Pingback: ROUND 2 – The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids « West Michigan Business Blog

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