If you’re considering nominating Portland for Google’s Fiber RFI, you may be wondering what you can say to help make the case. The most important thing you can do is fill out the form, because doing so demonstrates to Google that you are interested in them building fiber in Portland. Even if you don’t have much to say, it’s worthwhile for you to make your interest known. The more Portlanders let Google know we want fiber, the more supportive our community and city will appear.
Here are some additional points you might consider. It’s best if you think about how these relate to your own experience, and discuss what they mean to you as a consumer of Broadband, Phone and Television service.
1. A fiber optic network would not just provide Internet access. It would also support landline telephone and television service. Consider more than just your Internet access needs when imagining what might be improved by additional competition.
2. High speed broadband will likely lead to new services and uses that most of us haven’t even thought of yet. Portland is a creative community with many tech-enthused entrepreneurs. Building this network today has the potential to get our community “in on the ground floor” for next-generation services, and lead to innovative products and services.
3. Currently, Portland has very few broadband options, compared to many other cities. We have three city-wide options for broadband infrastructure: Comcast cable, Qwest phone lines (used by all DSL providers) and Clear WiMax. Only one of these providers (Comcast) offers speeds over 7Mbit/sec to Portland (Qwest has a few areas offering higher speeds, but mostly maxes out at 7Mbit/sec). Comcast has a monopoly on high speed broadband. The fiber optic network that Google is proposing would provide speeds of 1000Mbit/sec.
4. Every local ISP is forced to use Qwest’s antiquated and under-supported infrastructure. This means that local Internet providers cannot offer competitive service. Qwest has stated, unequivocally, that they have no intention of building fiber to the premises in Portland. Local ISPs will continue to compete at a severe disadvantage, unless an open-access fiber network is built in Portland.
5. Portland is surrounded by cities with fiber provided by Verizon. Portland is served by Qwest, but the cities around us have Verizon, who has built a fiber optic network. While we prefer an open-model to fiber that is limited to one company’s service, it is abundantly clear that our suburbs currently offer more competition in the broadband market than the City of Portland is able to provide.