The competition is stiff — Topeka, Kansas wants to win so badly it changed its name for a month, a mayor in Minnesota jumped into a frigid Lake Superior to demonstrate his city’s resolve and Sarasota Florida’s mayor took a swim with sharks.

But Fullerton is in there fighting to become one of Google’s ultra high-speed internet cities. And so is Mission Viejo.

The first test city has already been selected, Google’s hometown of Mountain View, Ca. But there are openings for more places to test Google’s new internet connection system, which is supposed to be far faster than most current cable or telephone dsl lines.

Fullerton joined the national scramble this month when it voted unanimously to submit an application to Google. The city’s school districts joined the effort and Fullerton and Mission Viejo asked residents to jump in with direct pleas to Google.

In an announcement Google said, “Our networks will deliver internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today.” Go here for a map of the competitors posted by Google.

The U.S. trails many other nations, including Japan and Korea, in very fast, less expensive internet access, according to broadband advocacy organizations.

Google didn’t say how it will provide internet connections or what it will cost cities or consumers to participate in the test, only that the price will be “competitive.” It’s designed for communities between 50,000 and 500,000 people — Fullerton has about 130,000 residents, according to 2008 census estimates and Mission Viejo has about 100,000.

Google said it expects to announce the winners around the end of the year.

Super fast internet connections could help Fullerton attract new industries, particularly those connected to Hollywood, according to a Fullerton city staff report. In addition to film editing, the report to the council said the health and education industries rely on very high speed internet connections.

To win, cities also must demonstrate that residents support the project. That means no law suits or other wrangling over tearing up streets to install Google’s Fiber for Communities Program.

Enthusiasm in some parts of the nation is so strong that in Topeka, Kansas, for example, mayor Bill Bunten issued a proclamation unofficially changing the town’s name for the month of March to Google, Kansas.

In Minnesota, Duluth Mayor Don Ness leaped into icy Lake Superior in a quest to impress Google and Sarasota, Florida Mayor Richard Clapp jumped into a shark tank. No, the sharks weren’t maneaters. They were bonnetheads, a smaller relative of the hammerhead shark.


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