The Push to Attract Google Fiber to Greensboro: What Makes Us So Special?

In case you haven’t heard, the City of Greensboro is making a major effort to attract Google’s ultra-high speed broadband project, known as “Google Fiber for Communities” or “Google Fiber” for short.

This is what Google says it is going to do in their official blog:

We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Greensboro of course would love to be one of the “small number of trial locations across the United States” which are selected — the advantages for economic development alone could be tremendous.  But we’ve got to beat out plenty of other cities if we want to attract them here.

So, what makes Greensboro special? 

For one thing, the city has a large and active blogging community, indicative of the deep penetration information technology has made into the community as a whole.  Aided by blog aggregators We101 and Greensboro101, local bloggers compete with mainstream media as sources for news and information.  Greensboro is also the location of Converge South, an annual “community-driven, community-supported Tech Users Conference” very popular with bloggers. 

Another reason is Greensboro’s embrace of the “new urbanism” concept, which stresses mixed-use, “walkable” neighborhoods.  The redevelopment of downtown has included Greensboro’s new Center City Park, neighborhoods such as Southside, which mix business fronts with condominiums, and, when completed, it will also include our Bicentennial Greenway, a trail which will form a loop around downtown Greensboro.  Revitalized urban living will attract a younger, hipper, tech-savvy set to Greensboro and further extend the penetration of information technology into the community.         

Developers and other community leaders also recognize the importance of conservation and sustainability.  These values manifested themselves in the recent construction of Greensboro’s Proximity Hotel and adjoining bistro — now regarded as “the nation’s most energy efficient and environmentally gentle hotel complex.”  Local support for sustainable development is also encouraged by organizations such as the Triad Green Building Council, and the Piedmont Triad Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.  The City of Greensboro has recently made a commitment to reduce energy consumption by nearly 30%, and a Community Sustainability Council created in 2008 helps formulate and suggest strategies to City Council on a variety of environmental issues.  Lastly, organizations such as the Piedmont Environmental Alliance and Sustainable Greensboro also further our community’s pledge to the environment. 

Greensboro’s strong commitment to diversity is another reason to select us.  African Americans hold key leadership positions throughout city government.  Our universities and colleges include two historically black institutions.  And the City of course takes great pride in its connection to the Woolworth sit-ins and the recently opened International Civil Rights Center & Museum.  In addition, Greensboro’s Latino population continues to grow, and, in the 2000 Census, Guilford County led North Carolina counties in refugee resettlement.  

Still another reason for Google to select us:  the large number of visitors we attract.  For instance, though the Greensboro Coliseum is no longer the sole venue of the popular Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament, this facility often plays host to events of regional and even national importance.  Other attractions for visitors include the historic Blandwood Mansion, the International Civil Rights Center & Museum, the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Greensboro Historical Museum, Greensboro Children’s Museum, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum.  The choice of Greensboro for Google Fiber will mean our many visitors will return to their homes and communities with word of this impressive technology and how it has transformed our city.

Plenty of other features of our community also recommend us.

For instance, Greensboro is unusual for a city of its size in having no less than seven institutions of higher learning (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, N.C. Agricultural & Technical University, Guilford College, Greensboro College, Bennett College, Elon University Law School and the Greensboro Campus of Guilford Technical Community College).  Combined, these universities and colleges make a valuable contribution to research, innovation, culture, and the arts in our community.          

Traditionally known as the “Gate City,” owing to its role as a railroad hub as early as the 1850s and the city’s central location in the State of North Carolina, Greensboro has also recently been chosen as a regional distribution center by FedEx.  When the company’s package-sorting operations are fully phased in, FedEx’s Greensboro facility is expected to anchor its operations on the East Coast.

Anybody who lives here could of course think of plenty of other reasons for Google to choose us — such as our excellent health care led by the Moses Cone Health System.

But I think you get the idea.  Greensboro’s simply a great place to live and we’ve got a wonderful community. 

So, c’mon Google, give us a chance!

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4 Responses

  1. You wrote, “Greensboro is also the location of Converge South, an annual “community-driven, community-supported Tech Users Conference” very popular with bloggers.”

    That’s the first time I’ve read anything about ConvergeSouth in any way connected to the Google initiative. First, thanks – am glad someone finally saw a connection. Second, and more important, there’s been a lot of agonizing about ‘what GSO has to offer Google’ (what makes us special) and you’ve done a great job of enumerating important points. Kudos on a well-researched and original way to view this.

    There’s only one thing I’d add. ConvergeSouth’s tag line has always been, “Creativity Online for Everyone.” Conference visitors ALWAYS comment on the widely diverse session leaders and attendees at CS (it’s outside their regular experience) and we continue to encourage diverse participation in the conference and all tech endeavors in this ‘burg. I think that’s an important point that has gone (before your post) unsaid. Thanks for the opportunity for me to say it on behalf of all the volunteers who built and build ConvergeSouth. (See you October 1-2!)

  2. […] The Push to Attract Google Fiber to Greensboro: What Makes Us So Special? Developers and other community leaders also recognize the importance of conservation and sustainability.  These values manifested themselves in the recent construction of Greensboro’s Proximity Hotel and adjoining bistro — now regarded as “the nation’s most energy efficient and environmentally gentle hotel complex.”  Local support for sustainable development is also encouraged by organizations such as the Triad Green Building Council, and the Piedmont Triad Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.  The City of Greensboro has recently made a commitment to reduce energy consumption by nearly 30%, and a Community Sustainability Council created in 2008 helps formulate and suggest strategies to City Council on a variety of environmental issues.  Lastly, organizations such as the Piedmont Environmental Alliance and Sustainable Greensboro also further our community’s pledge to the environment. Share […]

  3. Here is the video we made with Sandy Neerman on Tuesday. Please feel free to post it in a new entry on your blog.

  4. Great post, Tim!

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