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I think you should build the fiber network in Asheville. It’s more than a hunch. Here’s why:
- We are working hard on our own to make the world a better place. TEDx Asheville is one example of that push, as is Hatchfest. Check out the highlights from our 2009 TEDx.
- We’ve been working with fiber already. ERC Broadband is a nonprofit that runs a fiber network in our area. We need more help though; the ERC network does not serve enough people. But they do know the ropes and could make your planning easier.
- Asheville’s green building/green technology sector is growing fast and is full of ideas that need bandwidth.
- It’s cheaper to build a network in areas where the population lives close together. Since we mainly live in valleys here, our town is more dense, in a good way, than most people realize.
- Good ideas are the product of fertile minds and fertile minds come from good schools. Asheville is the hub of a network of colleges and universities – The University of North Carolina Asheville, Warren Wilson College, Montreat College, Asheville-Buncombe Technology Community College and Blue Ridge Community College are all within a 20 mile radius. Western Carolina University, Mars Hill College and Brevard College are also close (within a 60 mile radius).
- Your friends are already here! We have a Google data center 70 miles away in Lenoir. And there’s another big private data center, Netriplex, already in town.
- We have a sympathetic, business friendly city council willing to work with you. The politics of the city and the region will work in your favor.
- Our town is not sweaty in the summer (average temp is around 70). To put it in further perspective, the average summer temperature in the mountains above us is lower than it is in Buffalo, NY. The weather is so unique we have an independent regional forecaster – Ray’s weather.
- We have many technology-savvy workers and businesses. Check out this video, or look through some directories of local talent: the MAP and Meet the Geeks. Database programmers, software engineers, network engineers, LAMP gurus – we are already here.
- The National Climatic Data Center is in downtown Asheville. Their archives are the largest accumulation of climate data in the world and I think your network would help bring their data to life. Wouldn’t it be nice if your fiber network experiment also played a hand in limiting global warming?
- Asheville residents earn enough to pay for reliable broadband while being diverse enough for you to learn about how different groups would use the network. We all live here together.
- We are strategically located, close to other major pools of programming and technology talent. Build it here and you can dip into those pools without locating in those places – Knoxville/Oak Ridge, the NC research triangle, or Atlanta. Build it there and you’ll lose the other not easily duplicated advantages you’d have in Asheville.
- People like to be here – we are on nearly everyone’s top place to live list. Winning awards is nice, but I like to focus on the “why” part. Cities don’t win awards without hard work. That is Asheville’s secret sauce: good ideas, talented leaders, and good businesses working hard together. I think the same recipe can help Google.
- Asheville is not a likely terrorist target. We are not prone to natural disasters; we are virtually immune to widespread damage from earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes.
- Cheap electricity. Yes, nobody talks about it, but we have it. Check out the yellow dots (that represent hydro power) in Western North Carolina on this map. Now checkout our electric rates vs those in other states!
- Tourists can help spread the word – the city of Asheville has 2.9 million overnight stays per year. When these folks go home, they naturally take a fresh look at the world they are returning to. All these visitors will help spread the impact of your fiber project even further by putting pressure on the broadband providers in their hometowns to give them what they have just experienced in the mountains.
- We have an interesting regional history that fosters creativity and an independent mindset. People have come to the mountains to build their fortunes, to hide, to train, to study, and to create. Two hundred years of those patterns have helped create a certain entrepreneurial spirit that is deeply rooted in everything we do.
- We’ve paid our debts in the past even when virtually no one else did the same. “By 1929, both city and Buncombe County had incurred over $56 million in bonded debt to pay for a wide range of municipal and infrastructure improvements… Rather than default, the city paid those debts over a period of 50 years.” Why pay your debts? Come to Asheville and we will show you the answer.
This article is part of a series. You might also enjoy:
What is Google Fiber?
Why is Google building a fiber network now?
Looking to history for examples of the benefits of Google fiber