ROUND 2 – The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids

Poster by Holland Image House

Well it has been a couple of weeks since my initial post of Grand Rapids and Holland’s bid for the Google Fiber Town initiative and my how things have changed.  Let’s take a look at what Grand Rapids has done.

  • Over 24,000 Facebook Fans
    • They started a accountability system by asking Fans to post their tracking code that they get from Google after they vote, on the page
    • The Facebook Page has tabs that include videos, news links. Which becomes a good compilation of all Grand Rapids Google Fiber pitch
    • They have had meetings and will be holding an event – MY GR Flash Mob
    • – another website
    • I think this is their official YouTube channel
    • They have support of city government –

So Grand Rapids is putting together a very nice case for Google.  What I love is that they have city government support, and they are being quoted, shooting video, sending press releases, etc.  They are very active in this promotion, and it shows.  I would imagine that Google in addition to other factors, is looking for strong support from local city leaders and government.


Well Holland is not as big as Grand Rapids, and it definitely shows.  Holland’s Take Me To Fiber Town fans on Facebook only amount to 1,088 fans.  They have an official YouTube account with a couple of videos.  Also some billboards are popping up over the city as well (I just hope people get them).  The Holland BPW is taking an extremely active role in promoting the push and there is a great article by Holland BPW General Manager Loren Howard talking about why this is a good thing and how it would work.  They are offering a $150 gift certificate to area restaurants for the best YouTube video, and even created Sewer Man!

But in comparing what Holland is doing to Grand Rapids there is a huge gap, and it is not just in facebook fans.  It is Holland’s lack of city government involvement in getting the Google Fiber to Holland.  There is no mention of this on the city’s website, and I could only find one quote from the mayor in a mlive article:  “Our community has already been named one of the happiest, most contented places in the country,” said Mayor Kurt Dykstra. “Now we’re trying to become one of the best connected.”

Now compare this to Grand Rapids.  Grand Rapids issued a press release, has done numerous interviews, tv stories,  and videos (Mayor George Heartwell even has one).  Why isn’t Holland city government involved in this?  At least issue a statement of support or agreement that this is a good idea for Holland.  Why they have not done this already is beyond me.  So if you know any city leaders or bump into them, ask them to show some support.  Now I realize that this could be a long shot but what does it hurt to try, you never know what exactly Google is looking for.

Some ideas in promoting this:

  • Have the local library change the homepage of the internet browsing computers to the Take Me To Fiber Town page, and encourage people to vote for Holland.
  • Change the Facebook Page layout.  Make this the center of information, just like Grand Rapids Facebook page is.  Put new tabs which post all the videos, all the links
  • Ask people to post their confirmation code that they received from Google after they vote on the Facebook page.  Make people accountable.
  • Lets spur discussions.  Perhaps host a meeting and talk more about what this means to Holland, and why we can do it.  Maybe the general populace doesn’t get it
  • More media coverage – we suffer from a lack of media coverage in the Holland Sentinel there are only two stories about Take Me to Fiber Town.  I am almost scared to look how much coverage Grand Rapids has on their fiber efforts.
  • Can we get area groups or economic development groups on board with this project – Lakeshore Advantage perhaps?
  • Begin leveraging your own personal social media networks.  Drive people to Fibertown site, encourage them to vote, tell them why this is a good idea
  • We need Holland’s creatives to begin creating material for this – Posters (like the great image I have above from Holland Image House), videos, etc.
    • If you need ideas for videos or posters ask me I have plenty like
      • Holland’s Downtown ice melt system gets lonely underground, lets give it a friend
      • Put our Windmills to good use, they are tired of milling:  powering the fiber wire or Windmills making fiber wire
      • Tulips don’t help you surf the web faster

So lets give it a shot and see what happens.  The worst Google can say is no, but we can definitely leave an impression.

Be sure to vote –

Just a couple of other articles that I have come across, but here is a recent story in mlive about T2 Communications, who are already installing fiber optic lines in the Holland area.  What if anything would this mean with Google fiber wire?

Also just to give you an idea of what economic benefits we may see with the possible installation of this wire read the following article from the Economist about a small rural town in Virgina, and how fiber optic wire brought large business and jobs to town.


6 responses to “ROUND 2 – The Battle for Google Fiber Network: Holland vs. Grand Rapids

  1. I’m with Holland City Council. We’ve been working on our response, but I’d like to talk about some of your ideas for the FiberTown initiative.

    • Hi Brian. Good to hear that the City of Holland has something planned. I was quite worried that there might not be any response. I would be more than happy to discuss ideas, feel free to email me at, I will also send you a DM on twitter.

  2. There notifications around Hope College and in flyers in the residence halls and cafeterias, but it seems that the other students really don’t care. I’ve seen a student point it out, only to have her friend say that it’s boring or pointless.

    • That is really too bad. While I realize that student activism is not what it used to be, but how does faster downloads, surfing, and viewing not appeal to college kids?

  3. Pingback: Battle for Google Fiber – Holland’s FiberTown Fest Recap « West Michigan Business Blog

  4. Pingback: The Google posters, revisited | Holland Image House

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