Q: What is the status of Madison's efforts to get Google Fiber?
A: The application which serves as Madison's bid for a $97 million high-speed Google fiber-optic network was due March 26, and Google has not offered a definite schedule of when applicants can expect to hear back, said Preston Austin, a leader in efforts to bring the network to Madison. He said it's expected that Google will make selections this year.
"Everybody is still at stage one," said Austin, a Madison Web designer and consultant and leader of the Mad Fiber Cabal citizen group. He said some cities continued to pump social media after the deadline, but Madison did not.
"Our group wanted public and private education and a highly participatory response. I don't think Google's going to give a $100 million network to the city that waves their pom-pons most aggressively," Austin said. However, it's still important to keep all the pieces in place in case Google wants more information, he said.
One atypical feature of Madison's application that Austin said could add some value is the supplemental response website, where there are letters of support from businesses, nonprofits and UW-Madison. Austin said there are a couple more letters of support his group is hoping to get, but any further efforts are on hold right now.
The ice cream flavor created to woo Google, MadFiber, didn't even last a month, said Sara Brummel, manager at UW-Madison's Babcock Dairy. Brummel sent four tubs of MadFiber — vanilla ice cream packed with multicolored M&Ms and granola, to simulate fiber — to Google executives in California in April. The problem of soggy granola was solved, Brummel said, after it was discovered the granola needed to be frozen when added to the ice cream.
"If we were to get the bid, it would make sense to run it again, but I can't promise anything," Brummel said.
To keep up with the efforts to bring Google Fiber to Madison, visit www.madfiber.net.