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REDI assists Columbia in Google fiber application

Thursday, March 11, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 2:43 p.m. CST, Thursday, March 11, 2010

COLUMBIA — There are 15 days left for Columbia to submit the formal application for the Google fiber-optic broadband trial program.

Regional Economic Development Inc. is organizing a group of people to assist the city in putting the application together.

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The City Council will vote Monday night on authorizing the City Manager to make the formal application, said Mike Brooks, Columbia's director of economic development and president of REDI.

Robert Simms, the city's director of information technology services, is in charge of drafting of the application.

A task force including residents and members of the business, university and government communities is going to review that application and help expand it. There are around 20-30 people in the task force, Brooks said.

Besides the "potential positive impact on the communities' economic growth," Brooks also said this is "an opportunity to see how new technology develops."

"Whoever is selected will be cutting edge in technology and communication," Brooks said.

Google says the high-speed broadband network would be 100 times faster than most services.

The deadline for application submission and nomination is Mar. 26. Individuals and groups can nominate a city.

"We are encouraging people and groups to nominate Columbia," Brooks said.

Como Fiber is a group that was created with the primary goal of assisting other groups and increasing awareness to bring the network to Columbia. The group has started a Twitter campaign and is asking residents to tweet anything about Columbia with the hashtag #comofiber.

"We have to show them Columbia as a community is willing to cooperate and make it happen," Scott Wendling, a member of Como Fiber, said.


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