Chong: Google’s Medin Challenges Cities to Lay the Table for Gigabit Cities

At yesterday’s keynote for a virtual summit titled ‘Innovation for the Nation” directed towards state and local government employees, Google’s Milo Medin, VP of Access Services, told municipalities that they can attract a gigabit fiber service if they wanted it. He encouraged them to “own the problem” and pave the way by simplifying their municipal processes to attract fiber broadband providers.

He told the audience of local government authorities, “It is easier to create the future rather than predict the future.”

Medin told the audience that municipalities should remove barriers to cities and localities to build fiber systems.  First, he recommended streamlining right of way access.  Second, he noted that some utility poles need to be replaced every 10 years and when they are replaced, they should be replaced with taller poles with a space at the top to hold fiber lines.  Third, he suggested that permitting and approval processes be automated to speed up these processes.  Fourth, any time the ground is opened up, he suggested the municipalities install conduit into the ground.  In summary, the more you “make ready” your municipality for fiber, the better chance you have to attract private investment from a broadband company, he said.

Medin said there is no one model and it makes sense to do what you can with what money you are already spending.

When asked what government leaders can do to bring gigabit speed systems to their cities, Medin said that it is critical to have a coalition of CIOs working with senior city management and political leaders like mayors and city councils.

In recent years, Medin led Google’s efforts to build a gigabit fiber system in Kansas City.  Later Google has added Austin and Provo as cities where they are building gigabit broadband systems.

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About Rachelle Chong

Rachelle Chong is a nationally known expert on telecommunications, broadband, wireless communications, cable, digital literacy, public safety communications, renewable energy and smart grid policy. She is a former Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission (Clinton appointee) and the California Public Utilities Commission (Schwarzenegger appointee). Other notable posts include Vice President, Government Affairs for Comcast California Region; Special Counsel for Advanced Information and Communications Technology for the CA Technology Agency; a partner at two international law firms (Graham & James and Coudert Brothers); General Counsel for Broadband Office; and an entrepreneur. Rachelle is delighted to brush off her Journalism degree from Cal Berkeley, and serve as a columnist for Techwire, focusing on federal and state policies and the San Francisco and Silicon Valley tech/telecom beats.

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