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Google broadband hopefuls meet to talk strategy

Friday, February 19, 2010 | 7:09 p.m. CST; updated 6:11 p.m. CST, Sunday, March 7, 2010

COLUMBIA — Community members made the first steps Friday afternoon in mobilizing to bring Google fiber-optic broadband internet to Columbia.

Keith Politte, manager of the Reynolds Journalism Institute Technology Testing Center, facilitated a discussion at the Columbia Chamber of Commerce that centered on why Google should bring the trial service to Columbia.

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The discussion gravitated from utilizing the service locally to global uses.

“Install locally, impact globally,” Politte said.

Mark Strid, director of educational technology for MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, said this would be an opportunity for his students to more easily connect with other academics in nations like South Korea.

Jagdagdorj Erkhembayar, Lotus Notes developer of SEMCO Incorporated, said Google might be attracted to Columbia’s diverse community that includes many international students.

The community has already expressed interest on social networking sites. As of Friday evening, almost 400 people had joined a Facebook group supporting the trial in Columbia.

Regional Economic Development Inc. Chairman Dave Griggs said community involvement and creativity might put Columbia at an advantage. He said the group plans to form a task force to work with the city to apply for the trial.

“We have the opportunity here to engage the community,” Griggs said.


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