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A chain of events made from fiber – last call to action

This is a guest post written by Joe Toppi, support technician for CoSentry, Inc. and open source software developer. In his career he has worked developing business software for new ventures and local medical care providers. Now, he is turning his efforts to motivating the community.


One day, I read that Google wanted to roll out fiber based Internet service. This means faster gaming, faster downloading and faster sending people stuff. I like that, so I nominated the Omaha-metro area at the Google Fiber for Communities page. You should too, because when I did it I got some pretty impressive results.

The way I look at it, a few key players at Google made a decision to start a fiber project. They publicized this, and a few key players in each community began making a buzz in their home town. Some cities are renaming their communities, some threw parades, some wrote official documents, and some are pledging their first born children’s names. That is quite a chain reaction, from conference rooms to renaming babies. Thank goodness here in Omaha we seem to respond a bit more sensibly.

This is where I fit in, I am not saying I caused this, but just maybe I affected the decision making of a few more key players around town. I called around and let newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and local community groups know how I felt.

About a week after that, I started noticing other people making a big deal out of it, too. Somebody linked me to a Facebook group, Bring Google Fiber to Omaha-Council Bluffs (image on left), which, at the time of this post, had over 4,600 fans. Then I started catching wind of a few newspapers running stories about Google Fiber, and a few government groups taking action on it. One newspaper even called me for an interview. If you do a Google search for Google Fiber in Omaha, my two blog posts are the first two links, followed by the Facebook group. I am not saying that I made everyone do this, but maybe, just maybe, I affected the decisions of people in a positive way.

Why should you help?

Believe it or not, despite the national scale of this project, you can help with it. Some may wonder why they should even try. Helping is easy, as I will describe later, and the benefits are enormous.

Here are just a few of the benefits to our community:

  • Jobs
  • New business opportunities
  • Filling empty office spaces with renters
  • Personal use (YouTube would be so fast)
  • Large medical information is easier to share
  • Husker games streamed anywhere!

This offers opportunities for startups here in town to get an advantage over those in other parts of the country and even other parts of the world. If a business is trying to find a place to set up a new office, this will affect their decision, and will likely help fill some of our empty office spaces. There are already several major IT business here in town like Hewlett-Packard, PayPal, Google, Yahoo! and many others. The growth and desire to move jobs here can only increase with Google Fiber.

Image from an informational video on Google Fiber on google.com/appserve/fiberrfi

I have worked on projects with local startups, specifically DocCenter and Binovia, to move around large amounts of medical information. I can only imagine the opportunities that exist for someone truly interested in medicine, with major players like Creighton University Medical Center and Alegent Health in the same place as a community-wide gigabit network. They must have data that needs to be safely stored, records to be securely transported and dozens of other IT startup opportunities.

It is not limited to medicine. Every business that uses an internet connection will get a boost in productivity, even if for no other reason than progress bars will move faster. Clever people will get much more out of this – these are only the opportunities that I see here and now. I wish I knew what the people in the Omaha-metro area will come up with using this springboard for opportunity. When I thought about some of these limitless possibilities, I was already convinced I had to try to get Google Fiber here.

How can you help?

Helping is simple. If you tell a few people, that could go a long way. Contact your friends, family and co-workers. Send them to this post. Convince them to tell their friends and co-workers, too.

You also need to make your voice known to Google. The more people who nominate the Omaha-Council Bluffs and surrounding metro area at the Google Fiber for Communities page, the better. This might not be the only way Google gauges our community, so make sure to become a fan of the Facebook group, Bring Google Fiber to Omaha-Council Bluffs.

Finally, if you have some spare time, do something to get Omaha or Council Bluffs noticed. Make a YouTube video, write blog posts, tell people in the streets, and do anything that you can think of to get more people nominating the Omaha metro area and get them convincing more people. Be creative, many cities have done some clever things to bring Google Fiber attention to their part of the country.

Here in Omaha, we are pretty down-to-Earth. We don’t need cheap gimmicks (like changing our name) to convince Google to come here, but we do all need to speak out at once. I really believe Omaha is the best place in the world for Google Fiber. We just all need to tell that to Google.

Joe Toppi can be reached at toppij@gmail.com or on his blog at assuredts.com/toppij.


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