Thoughts on Google Fiber: Appendix – Original email to the Mayor’s office

Partially for my own reference, and in part because I make some points in these messages that I didn’t make in my posts, I wanted to stick my messages to the city online. I’m sure many people have something similar.
From: Erik Paulson
To: “Clark, Brad”,,,”Strauch-Nelson, Rachel” <RStrauch>
CC:  “Beadles, Rich”
Date: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 4:46 PM
Subject: Google Fiber Network – seeking communities – an opportunity for Madison

Brad –

At our last Broadband Telecommunications Regulatory Board meeting, we
heard a presentation about a potential new fiber-optic network, and
the advantages that it would bring to Madison.

Unfortunately, the State’s cable reform bill eliminated the primary
mission for the BRTB, and the committee was dissolved. It is unlikely
that the plan presented that night was going to work, but what could
have been the start of a conversation was unfortunately just an

The reform was supposed to bring increased competition and choices for
Wisconsin residents. I was and am skeptical, and certainly we have not
seen any serious changes here in Madison. I was pleased that the Mayor
was also opposed to the bill.

I’d like to draw your attention to this:

The key quote: “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

Whereas Brilliant Cities had an interesting plan but not the resources
to pull it off, Google most certainly has the resources to accomplish
its vision.

Google has issued a Request for Information for communities that are
interested in being an initial site. I am confident that Madison has
many attributes that would make it an ideal candidate – a
highly-educated citizenry, a world-class University that can drive new
applications for a high speed network, and a concentrated geography
ideal for a network build-out. Having a Google office in town doesn’t
hurt, either 🙂

I’d like to see the Mayor identify a staff person to lead an effort to
put a response. The material pulled together for the BTOP program in
the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act should mean that much of
the hard work is already done – in fact, our proposal in Google would
likely be synergistic with the MUFN/MBI proposals.

A response from the City of Madison would be stronger with additional
community support. The BRTB would have been an ideal group to help
gather that support. I’m sure that many of us would still be willing
to assist in an ad-hoc manner.

I’m CCing Alder Compton, who as a former BRTB member expressed an
interest in maintaining some sort of body that could assist when
issues like this arose. I’m also CCing Rich Beadles and Patrick
Christian, who were involved with the BTOP proposal. I’m also
including Rachel Strauch-Nelson, who looks like has inherited George
Twigg’s responsibilities for this area.

We lamented, as a city, that we were unable to do more to create the
network infrastructure that will bring entirely new opportunities to
Madison.  This could be a low-risk, high impact success for Madison,
and could be a tremendous tool for future economic development. Google
has a track record of fundamentally altering the landscape when it
gets involved, and Madison should make a strong effort to be at the

The response to the RFI is due March 26th, which is not a lot of time.
I am confident that with strong leadership, we can be successful.


-Erik Paulson


From: Strauch-Nelson, Rachel <>
To: Erik Paulson , “Clark, Brad” <>, Mayor <>, “Compton, Judy” <>
CC: “Beadles, Rich” <>, “Kronberger, Paul” <>
Date: Wed, Feb 10, 2010 at 7:01 PM
Subject: RE: Google Fiber Network – seeking communities – an opportunity for Madison

Hi Erik,

Thank you for your message. Many people have actually contacted us today about Google’s plans, and I agree that it looks like a great opportunity for the city. When I heard about it this morning and asked Rich Beadles to look into it, he already had. Rich will be working with our new IT Director, Paul Kronberger to find out more details and coordinate how the city should respond. As you know, Rich did great work within the city and with our partners in the community on ARRA applications.

I’ve asked Rich and Paul to keep our office up to date and let us know what we can do the help the application. I will pass along any updates I receive.

Thanks again,


From: Erik Paulson
To: Strauch-Nelson, Rachel <>, Mayor <>,
Date: Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 11:50 AM
Subject: RE: Google Fiber Network – seeking communities – an opportunity for Madison
That’s great news that the city has already seen it.

I think there’s an important role here for the Mayor’s office to play
in terms of Community leadership. Already, we’re seeing Facebook
and events

urging Madisonians to take action.

While I’m sure Rich will put together a great formal response on
behalf of the city, it’d be great to see the Mayor’s office provide
some guidance and talking points that citizens can use when they
contact Google. I counted 35 other Facebook groups for “Nominate City
X for Google Fiber”, so whatever we can do to get a leg up would be
helpful. Consistent messages that align with our formal response would
be ideal.

This would be a great blog post if the Mayor is looking for something
to write about this morning 🙂

Finally, I think Madison’s response would be made stronger if a draft
was posted early for community feedback. This is a great way for
Madison to dip its toes into Government 2.0. (You’ll be hearing a lot
more from me about Gov 2.0 this summer




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