The Things America Will Do for Google’s High Speed Internet

BY Anna Shoup  March 26, 2010 at 3:25 PM EST

There are no concrete numbers, no official announcement date, not even a clear number of winners. But still, it’s Google, and the news that the internet search giant will build “ultra-high speed broadband networks” in at least one community has sparked a flurry of application writing and wild publicity stunts.

One number is available: 1 gigabit per second. That’s the speed Google says their networks will deliver, which is 100 times faster than current access available to most Americans. In response, mayors have renamed their cities and jumped into shark tanks to show how much they want to be part of the experiment.

Applications are due Friday, March 26. There are two parts to the process, one for the government to explain its existing infrastructure and one for the residents to explain why their city should be the winner. “YouTube videos and other creative submissions are encouraged!” the company said it its call to apply.

The government side of the application includes a survey that asks questions as detailed as “Please identify the entities, including units of the local government, that own or control utility poles in your community” and for information on the “local regulatory obligations” that Google would face during the project. The idea is to identify cities where the network can be installed without a lot of red tape.

Cities have set up Web sites, uploaded video to YouTube, created Twitter accounts. There’s even a company that is ranking the field with charts and graphs.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most interesting stunts and applications thus far:

Topeka, Kansas renamed itself for the month of March to Google, Kansas.

Duluth Mayor Don Ness jumped into Lake Superior:

If it were up to a manatee, Sarasota, Fla. would be the pick.

Fresno, Calif. began their video with a rap for Google Fiber.

Topeka’s video took a more serious approach.

And in Tempe. Ariz., they wrapped one office in a “fiber network” of yarn:

There are plenty more out there. Did you submit an application?

One thing is sure, once this competition is over, Google will have a in-depth, if scattered, sample of the nation’s infrastructure in their databases.