Anchorage makes its plea for Google ultra-high-speed Internet project

Anchorage is joining cities all across the country that are pleading with Google to pick them as a test city for ultra-high-speed Internet service.

Last month, the California-based Internet giant announced its plans to build and test an experimental fiber-optic network capable of delivering Internet speeds at one gigabit per second. That's 100 times faster than the national average for fiber-based residential Internet access.

One-gigabit service is not unheard of, but it is not marketed in Alaska and not sold to U.S. residential customers. In this country, ultra-high-speed Internet is mainly used to link corporate, academic and government networks. One-gigabit service is available to households in Japan, Korea, Sweden and Portugal.

Google invited U.S. cities to apply to become a host for its project, saying the high-speed service will be available to 50,000 to 500,000 people, most likely in one or a couple of communities. The service will not be free, according to the company.

Officials heard about the Google project and decided to apply, city spokeswoman Sarah Erkmann said.

This week, the city launched a public-private media campaign called "Googifi Anchorage" in hopes of boosting the city's chance of selection. The campaign asks Anchorage residents to go online to sign a petition in support of the project and upload video testimonials.

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