Mayor Rawlings-Blake Continues Google Push for Baltimore
Mayor highlights Baltimore’s conduit system, announces new broadband task force.
Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake highlighted a strategic advantage in attracting Google Fiber to Baltimore—the City’s elaborate 3.9 million feet of underground conduit system. More than 1,100 communities, including Baltimore City, have applied for Google’s billion dollar investment to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. Google is expected to announce its selection of communities by the end of this year.
As part of the fiber effort, Google has encouraged cities “…to make conduit installation an integral part of their own road construction/repair process…” and Baltimore has done just that. The City owns and maintains a system of underground conduits to encase electric, fiber optics, and telecommunication cables and is now in the process of completing a comprehensive survey of the system using state-of-the-art GIS mapping technology.
Mayor Rawlings-Blake personally inspected survey work conducted by the Department of Transportation and City contractors at one the City’s 14,000 manhole structures. “Baltimore is the best city in America to invest in with a new blazing fast internet infrastructure,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “There is no doubt that our commitment to maintaining and enhancing our City’s conduit system makes Baltimore a very attractive choice for Google and other potential providers of broadband infrastructure.”
“The fact that Baltimore owns its own conduit system, unlike most cities in the nation, represents a unique opportunity for broadband providers to deploy networks quickly without third-party negotiations,” said Mr. Tom Loveland, CEO of Mind Over Machines, who serves as Baltimore’s volunteer ‘Google Czar.’ “Baltimore’s new digital conduit mapping system makes it fast and efficient to identify the best routes for new deployments.”
Today, Mayor Rawlings-Blake also announced a new broadband task force to identify opportunities to increase access to ultra high-speed internet in Baltimore. The mission of the Baltimore Broadband Task Force is to identify challenges and recommend strategies to increase broadband deployment and adoption in Baltimore City.
“Baltimore’s participation in the Google Fiber for Communities Initiative has illuminated the need for a more robust understanding of the opportunities and obstacles in making ultra high-speed internet more available to Baltimore City residents, businesses and institutions,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “The broadband taskforce will explore ways to leverage our City’s existing resources and assets to increase high-speed connectivity.”
Mayor Rawlings-Blake named Mr. Loveland and Donald Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee President and CEO, to lead the effort as co-chairs of the task force.
“Baltimore is blessed with a tech-savvy workforce and a highly-advance information technology business sector,” said Donald C. Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. “Drawing on this expertise to broaden access to high-speed fiber would significantly benefit our city’s culture and quality of life. It would also strengthen Baltimore as a business location in today’s information-driven marketplace.”
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