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Town to vie for Google Internet

KENT — The town has entered a national competition to receive an ultra-high-speed Internet connection from Google.

According to the competition’s Web site at google.com/appserve/fiberrfi, Google wants to test an ultra-high-speed broadband network in one or more trial locations across the country.

The network would deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than typical Internet speeds, at more than 1 gigabit per second to connect.

Megabits and gigabits are the rates of speed that are used to measure Internet data and transmission speeds.

If Kent is chosen as a trial location, Google will offer high speed Internet to at least 50,000 people and as many as 500,000. In the 2000 census, Kent was listed as having a population of 2,858.

The company is asking towns and cities across the nation to submit a Request For Information (RFI) to help them determine where they should build the network.

Resident John Mauer is helping prepare the entry. His Kent-oriented Web site is at stoneforge.com.

At the Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday, March 2, Mauer gave details of the competition to the board.

“To give you an idea of how fast an Internet speed they are offering, Charter Communications currently offers high-speed Internet up to 10 megabits per second if no one else is on,†Mauer said. “Kent School, which is hooked up to the AT&T Internet network, gets 45 megabits per second.

“If we were hooked up to Google’s service, it would change what businesses in town could do. It could also attract new businesses to our town, especially the types that could use high-speed Internet access†such as multimedia companies.

“The worst they can say is no,†Mauer added.

First Selectman Bruce Adams said the selectmen are in support of applying.

“My initial reaction was ‘Wow, my Internet is going to be faster, ‘but there’s a lot more to it than that,†he said. “It has the potential to bring businesses to town that just can’t get these kind of Internet speeds in any other place. There are no guarantees to this, but it will not hurt trying for it.â€

Adams asked anyone who has contacts at Google to call him.

“I think I know of at least one person who works at Google, who was a former student of mine,†Adams said.

Google has not indicated when it will make a decision.

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