Google has been experimenting with many new projects recently – from releasing Google glass and establishing Calico to starting Google Shopping Express, it has been reaching many different parts of the community, affecting most of us in one way or another. However, Google’s newest project, replacing Google WiFi, is most directly relevant to Mountain View community members.
There have been many complaints about the neglected Google Wifi system in Mountain View, which is beset with performance and reliability issues. The system was installed in 2006 and has not been able to keep up with the speed and data demands required by today’s devices. On February 25th, the Mountain View City Council came to an agreement with Google.
The City Council accepted Google’s offer of a $500,000 technology grant. The funds will be used to maintain the new WiFi system the city has installed in the library and in City Hall, and is planning to extend to the Teen Center, Senior Center, Community Center, and Rengstorff Park.
Google is also set to replace its current system with a smaller but more capable network. The City Council approved a new five-year agreement to have Google bring a new and free outdoor WiFi system to the downtown corridor. This downtown corridor covers 18 city blocks and is bordered by El Camino Real, Hope Street, the edges of the train station, and Franklin Street. This agreement means that Google will be dismantling its existing wireless system. Residents using the system have been given a 60 day notice that the system is being taken down.
“We need to provide the tools of success for every one of our residents in this connected world. With this connectivity plan, we have the opportunity to make a significant leap forward by upgrading the WiFi in key areas of Mountain View,” Mayor Chris Clark said.
Additionally, council members are in preliminary discussions over Google’s proposal to bring Google Fiber to Mountain View. The new fiber-optic network could provide a connection up to 100 times faster than the average American broadband speed, bringing us to gigabit speeds. In cities where it is offered, it costs $70 a month with an installation fee up to $300. Mountain View is one of the 34 cities in the nation that could get Google Fiber soon, including Sunnyvale, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and San Jose locally.
Council member Mike Kasperzak stresses the importance of Google Fiber.
“We are actually becoming a third world country in terms of Internet. In Sweden they are at gigabit speeds up and down at a quarter of the cost of what we pay for 6 megabytes up and down,” Kasperzak said.