Mayor Woos Google With Town's Name Change

Topeka, Kansas really wants high-speed broadband

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Charlie is here / Flickr
    A Topeka resident created this fanciful rendering of Google's army of squirrels installing fiber-optic cable to the governor's mansion.

    If Mountain View doesn't do what Google wants in rezoning land near the company's headquarters so that Googlers can live even closer to work, the company may want to think about moving to Topeka, Kansas.

    Bill Bunten, mayor of the Shawneee County seat with a population a little over 120,000, would like everyone to call the town "Google, Kansas" for the month of March, and has the support of the city council.

    The move is meant to help the town's application to be the test site for a high-speed, fiber-optic network Google wants to build. Proposals are due by March 26.

    Ann Arbor and Baton Rouge are also applying, and have the advantage of large research universities. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is also considering the plan, though after he wasn't able to convince the city to allow Google to install a free wireless network, he's been hesitant to push the issue.

    Google wants to build a fiber-optic network orders of magnitude faster than most current cable or DSL options, with one gigabyte per second of bandwidth. The network will initially connect a planned 50,000 homes.

    Topeka's tactic to woo corporations has worked in the past, with Nintendo releasing its Pokemon video game in "ToPikachu, Kansas" in 1998. And a town in Oregon changed its name to Half.com, an e-commerce startup later purchased by eBay, in the late '90s in exchange for broadband subsidies.

    Of course, legally, Topeka will still be Topeka. So the application to Google won't actually be postmarked "Google, Kansas."

    Image by Flickr user Charlie is here.

    Jackson West figures at least they aren't giving away land and tax breaks. Yet.