Stanford as Google's Guinea Pig

Faculty and staff act as beta test subjects for the larger Google Fiber project

By Mike Anderson
|  Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010  |  Updated 10:52 PM PDT
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Stanford as Google's Guinea Pig

flickr.com/ekosystem

Google will build an ultra high-speed fiber optic network at Stanford University.

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Working at Stanford University has its perks. For example, they will get blazingly fast Internet courtesy of its neighbor in Mountain View called Google.

Soon, 850 faculty and staff who live on campus will be mini-test subjects for Google's high-speed broadband experiment using fiber optics.

This is the first step for the highly publicized project that will make an entire city fiber optic. Remember the video of the Duluth mayor jumping into Lake Superior to get Google's attention to pick the Minnesota city? Or how about the flash mob that took over a basketball game in Columbia, Missouri?

San Francisco also applied for the gig, as did Berkeley, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Redding, Chico, Davis, Tracy, Modesto, Stockton and Merced.

The project will deliver Internet speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second and the winning city (or cities) could be announced by the end of the year.

Google said it chose Stanford for the beta deployment because of its layout and openness to experimentation. Stanford's proximity to the company's Mountain View campus didn't hurt, either.

"Its location -- just a few miles up the road from Google -- will make it easier for our engineers to monitor progress," the company said in a statement.

Installation for residents who opt in will cost $250, or $50 for a self-install kit.

The free ultra-high-speed Internet access, 100 times faster than the average household has, will last for one year before Google starts charging.

Building the network at Stanford is scheduled to begin in early 2011.

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