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March 30, 2011

Google Fiber going to Kansas City, Kansas -- not Baltimore

Breaking news: Google just announced that it will build an experimental next-generation, high-speed fiber optic network in Kansas City, Kansas. Kansas City beat out more than 1,100 other communities across the United States, including Baltimore and several Maryland municipalities.

Here's the official Google announcement.

Baltimore technology enthusiasts months ago rallied online -- in an effort dubbed BmoreFiber -- to persuade city officials to get behind the idea to submit a proposal to Google, using the effort as a rallying cry to call attention to the city's technology infrastructure. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other city and business stakeholders supported the effort and touted Baltimore's medical, technological and infrastructure capacities to Google. Mayor Rawlings-Blake named Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines and an influential player within the state's tech community, as Baltimore's "Google Czar."

"With Google Fiber, Baltimore will change the world," the website reads.

The Google Fiber plan calls for delivering 1 gigabit download streaming to connected homes -- roughly 100 times faster than current average download connections for most Internet users. Supporters of such ultra-high-speed bandwidth say that enabling that kind of connectivity will create and enable new business models and help generate advances in everything from telemedicine to entertainment.

Stay tuned. More to come on this ....

UPDATE:Not all hope is lost. Google cofounder Sergey Brin seemed to indicate in the video below that the Kansas City roll-out is only the beginning, implying that it may roll out Google Fiber to other communities. This leaves some wiggle room of hope for Baltimore in the future.

I sought comments from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Dave Troy, who helped organize the Bmore Fiber grassroots effort and is a volunteer on the city's new Broadband Task Force formed by the mayor:

From Mayor Rawlings-Blake's spokesman: This was probably the most competitive process among American cities in modern history and it was great for Baltimore to be a part of it. It started the discussion on what we can do to improve broadband access and reduce the digital divide in Baltimore. As a result of the Google process, the Mayor Rawlings-Blake created a broadband task force to identify opportunities to increase access to ultra high-speed internet. Mayor Rawlings-Blake named Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines, and Donald Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee President and CEO, to lead the effort as co-chairs of the task force. The Mayor is also pleased that internet infrastructure companies and wireless broadband providers are continuing to expand and improve their networks in Baltimore.

From Dave Troy: From my perspective I think it was a fair competition with 1,100 players. We had no strong sense of what sort of municipality they might favor – word was that a city nearby to them might be the first choice, like Palo Alto – so the fact that they chose a city that resembles Baltimore bodes well for us going forward.

Sergey Brin is quoted as saying that they are "starting with Kansas City," so if they pursue other cities of similar sizes, I'd say Baltimore continues to fare very well on that list. So I am disappointed but still hopeful. And regardless, the process spawned an exploration of how we might go about doing this ourselves, and that is already well underway with the work that Tom [Loveland] and I are doing with the Broadband Task Force.

This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:
Posted by Gus Sentementes at 12:40 PM | | Comments (13)
Categories: *NEWS*


Disappointing for Baltimore, but hopefully the concept will come to frution and offer the benefits to the rest of us.

saw this coming a mile away !! Buisness`s are packing up and leaving Baltimore and this State at alarming numbers. How can you possibly expect to lure new good companies here with such a unfriendly buisness atmosphere, add the fact that balt is becoming the new murder capital of the world and you can plainly see why. Such a shame leadership (if you wanna call it that) stands alone in their asessment of the jobs they do.

This makes me sad, Gus. I actually thought we had a pretty good shot.


What is Google's ETA on implementation?

Since Comcast and Verizon have demonstrated they have no interest in improving the city's internet infrastructure, the city really needs to put forth a plan to build its own high-speed network. The other option is to petition other large companies like Amazon to follow in Google's footsteps. Either way, I'd like to see our region get more involved in acquiring faster internet connectivity. We need to keep the ISPs pushing forward, not rolling backward into the dark ages like the ISPs in places like Canada are doing.


I do remember back during the application process, the people at BMoreFiber mentioned that we could go it alone if Google doesn't choose us.

Would still be worth a shot to try. It's not like our boradband can get any slower.




That sucks!! I was VERY hopeful and optimistic about Baltimore getting the Google project. It would have eventually benefited the entire State.

What is the maximum broadband speeds that providers offer in the Baltimore metro area? We here in Western Maryland (Cumberland precisely) have a new provider who will be offering speeds up to 1 Gbps for business and homes.

Western Maryland was pulling for you guys, even though I am biased since I am a "native son" of Baltimore. Here is to hoping the claims of "going it alone" hold true and Baltimore and the region can develop into the epicenter of the next generation hi-tech hot spot!!

Oh well, there are other companies building fiber in the city. Our company has high-speed fiber Internet from a Baltimore company called Litecast.

Yes a sad day BUT all is not lost. In fact I'd say that due to the process of going after the Google opportunity that has actually enabled several key things to take place in Baltimore that wouldn't have without the Google chase. The Mayor has a Broadband Task Force that is absolutely working on opportunities outside of the Google effort. And Google has left the door open for them to choose other locations as well.

If you want to readup on HOW chasing Google is helping Baltimore possibly create our own broadband solution read this post from Tom Loveland - he nails it spot on:

Thanks for that link, Mario! I forgot about that post by Tom. -gs

At least KC does not have FIOS, so they prob. took that into consideration and if they expand may come here.


Neither does Baltimore City.

Fran In Baltimore

Fran, That was my point. As a full-on techie, I full well know and regreat that I can't get any real broadband here in the city.

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About Gus G. Sentementes
Gus G. Sentementes (@gussent on Twitter) has been writing for The Baltimore Sun since 2000. He's covered real estate, business, prisons, and suburban and Baltimore City crime and cops. He was one of the first reporters at The Sun to use multimedia tools and Web applications -- a video camera, an iPhone -- to cover breaking news. He hopes to cover Maryland geeks and the gadgets and Web sites they build, and learn -- and share -- something new every day.

Gus has a wife, a young daughter and two feuding cats. They live in Northeast Baltimore.
This is an archived version of the technology blog. For updated coverage, see the current baltTech location:

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