My case for Google fiber for the Philly startup community

This is a submission to Gigabit Philly for Google Fiber for Communities


What would hundreds of startup companies do with Gbit Ethernet connections? They'd do a lot of everything, e.g. crawling the Web, broadcasting video, transferring massive data sets, and lots of stuff I haven't thought of yet.

I currently have a much slower fiber connection for my business (using FIOS). I crawl about a hundred million domains a month on this network. Access to this fiber connection has certainly helped my startup get traction. But if I had cheap access to Gbit Ethernet, needless to say, bandwidth would no longer be my bottleneck.

Multiply me by several hundred. 
That is my case for Gigabit Philly in a nutshell. 

The case for startups

Startups drive economic growth because they commercialize innovation. They create jobs. They increase standards of living. Giving startups Gbit Ethernet will accelerate these processes. It's the biggest bang for the buck by far.

The case for a big city

The suburban digital town is old hat, as is the wired town in the middle of nowhere. I remember the same stories from literally fifteen years ago--let's take a place and wire up all the homes and call it the future. And what useful results have ever come out of those projects?

Urban centers, on the other hand, have been less touched by the digital revolution, and for good reason. They're a pain to deal with. There's entrenched companies, endless politics, large tax bills, old buildings, etc. I moved out of the city in part so I could avoid these things and in part so I could get things like FIOS.

And that is exactly the case for putting Gbit Ethernet in a big city. It's both challenging and needed. Many big cities are in desperate need of revitalization. There is a real future in new forms of urban planning, and digital connections will be a part of that future. 

Perhaps most importantly, though, big cities are where startup communities live. So if you believe the case for startups, then you should bring fiber to where they reside, within big cities.

The case for Philadelphia

If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. Smaller cities should be easier to deal with because they're smaller. And the five larger cities don't need it as much.

That's right, Philadelphia ranks #6 in the list of biggest US cities. We're probably the biggest city you hear least about. And we've been losing population for the last 50 years. Put differently, we're most definitely in need of revitalization. 

To make the case more compelling--we really want it. The city of course wants it (who wouldn't?), but the startup community in particular wants it. 

We want it so bad that our biggest startup group, Philly Startup Leaders, has spent their entire cash reserves on Gigabit Philly. Other startup groups and individuals (me included) have donated so much to the cause that the initial $5000 contribution is now in the minority.

To show the city actually supports our efforts, City Councilman Bill Green and City CTO Allan Frank each personally contributed $500 of their own money. 

The case for Gigabit Philly

In short, bring Gbit Ethernet to startups in Philadelphia because we need it, want it, and it will make a real and lasting impact. 

If it were me, I'd sprinkle it all around. We're a large city, and there are startup centers throughout, e.g. co-working space, the Science Center, and the Naval Yard.

Restated: the case for Gigabit Philly is hundreds startups using this fast connection to innovate quickly and help revitalize our city.


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I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.