City, Carnegie Mellon Launch Web site

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Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have announced a new web site,, where residents, businesses and other organizations can make their best arguments for Google Inc. to deploy an ultrafast broadband network in Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon is helping the city prepare a proposal to Google to include Pittsburgh in the new Google Fiber for Communities project, which will deliver Internet services at one-gigabit-a-second speeds to between 50,000 and 500,000 people. Communities have until March 26 to submit proposals to Google to be considered as test bed sites.

The city's proposal will emphasize that Carnegie Mellon, UPMC and other local research organizations have a track record of innovation and can help pioneer new applications that take advantage of the ultrafast network. And the city government has pledged to eliminate as much red tape as possible as Google installs fiber optic cable and deploys the network.

But Google also is looking for signs of broader, community-wide support, prompting the city to announce the new web site at a news conference March 17.

"Pittsburgh has the intellectual bandwidth to complement Google's networking infrastructure," Cohon said. "Google recognizes that Carnegie Mellon and our fellow universities here are pipelines for talent and wellsprings of innovation in engineering, policy, business, the sciences, computer science, and the arts. I think what Google will learn in the coming weeks is that this entire community is similarly focused on the future."

Competition for the Google project is stiff. "Baltimore, Seattle, Indianapolis...there are many, many cities across the country that are going after this aggressively," said Howard Stern, the city's chief information officer.

Other cities have tried to stir interest with gimmicks, such as changing the name of the city to Google or by having city officials jump in icy lakes, Ravenstahl noted. "We don't need to do that here in Pittsburgh," he added. "Our credentials stand on their own."

Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |