Kirby, the hamster whose furious leg-pumping provides most of Seattle with its Internet power, says he would welcome the chance to hop off "this damn wheel."
The lack of high-speed Internet options in Seattle is a black eye for such a tech-savvy city. A a situation that's so bad we're even jealous of Tacoma.
Mayor Mike McGinn made improving the city's Internet infrastructure a major campaign platform. But the city doesn't have money to pay its employees right now, let alone fund the first phase of an ambitious, half-billion dollar project.
So what's a city to do?
The answer may lie with Google.
According to a post on its official blog, Google is now "planning to build and test ultra-high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States." This "ultra" broadband would offer speeds up to 100 times faster than what's currently available on Comcast. And, says Google, it would also be competitively priced.
Sounds great. But parsing the comments of Bill Schrier, the city's chief technology officer, frustrated Seattleites still waiting on that pirated download of "Avatar" shouldn't hold their breath.
In an e-mail, Schrier told Brier Dudley that the city's looking into the project but hasn't made a decision on whether or not to apply. (Applications are due by March 26.)
One potential stumbling block could be the scope of Google's project. It says it wants to target communities of between 50,000 to 500,000, a range that wouldn't encompass Mayor McGinn's goal of providing coverage for the entire city. And as TechFlash points out, Google landing in Washington would mean planting a broadband flag in Microsoft territory.
Either way, it'll be interesting to see if Seattle reaps any benefits from Google's entry into the world of Internet service providers. Announcement video below.