What you can do next:
1) Go to URL https://fiber.google.com/about/ and click on the blue “CHECK ADDRESS” button in the upper-right hand corner. When you enter your address and hit go, you will be told “Google Fiber isn’t available for this area,” and there will be an option to enter your e-mail address when it’s available in the future. Google closely monitors where market demand is coming from based on these addresses, so this is the next step we can do to become a Fiber City. Here you can also learn more about what Google Fiber has to offer.
2) Share the petition on Social Media and with Friends and Family to bring awareness to other Memphians. Let them know that bringing Google Fiber to Memphis will be beneficial to our community and the potential improvement in Internet access speed and availability will empower our citizens from all walks of life. Businesses, Healthcare Institutions, and other non-profit and public organizations will greatly benefit and will spur economic development all across the city.
From change.org/Shawn Mufti:
Access to broadband internet is more important than ever before, as it provides quick access to information and resources. Lower speeds at higher prices have a dual effect on not only pricing the poor out of the broadband internet market, but also dampening business and workplace productivity. Memphis is dominated by an oligopolistic broadband market which makes access to the internet slow, unreliable and expensive. In Memphis, consumers have two options for fixed-line broadband — AT&T and Comcast. However, the former does not service all areas with U-Verse and in many cases consumers are left with now obsolete-DSL service. Both ISPs are known to be less than 100% reliable, are expensive and remain at the top of lists for worst customer satisfaction in the ISP industry. While there are reports that Google is researching the possibility of bringing high-speed internet to low income areas in Nashville, Google Fiber would benefit Memphis even more. Memphis has been considered one of the poorest cities in America with one of the highest poverty rates for a city of its size, with some estimates as high as 28.6%.
With Google Fiber, these poverty-riddled areas could take advantage of the free 5Mbps service offered by Google Fiber to look for jobs, get access to information, apply for government assistance they don’t already know about, and even educate themselves with resources like the Khan Academy, Coursera, and several others. While Comcast offers an internet essentials bundle for an affordable price, this option is only available to homes with students in grade school who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program. This still leaves out a large number of unemployed/underemployed individuals who are not in school. While smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices are found ubiquitously throughout Memphis, internet access is not. Moving internet access to ubiquity has been a slow process, and for the past several years, remained at a near standstill. The vast majority of Memphis is served by just two providers; this lack of competition in the market reduces the incentive to provide faster service and/or more affordable prices. A stagnant market is bad for business, bad for citizens, and bad for our city.
We need a dynamic new presence to shake things up in our city and stimulate growth. Memphis wants to be a city that keeps things fresh and new while never losing its historical roots, and Google Fiber can help to do exactly that. Memphis has a huge up-and-coming musical artist scene that could greatly benefit from high bandwidth available from Google Fiber. Imagine artists collaborating with each other in real-time, via video-conferencing. This could reduce some overhead costs and eliminate the need for transportation, another barrier many in Memphis face to overcome. Video-conferencing could also benefit Memphis’ medical district. Memphis has one of the best medical districts in the country, from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Methodist University Hospital and Regional One Health (formerly The MED). These world-class institutions have been at the forefront of medical research and care. St. Jude is the first and only pediatric treatment and research facility to be designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and discoveries made at St. Jude have completely changed how the world treats children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. In addition, Lebonheur Children’s Hospital treats more than 200,000 children each year, and has been named one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals. These are just a few of the highlights of Memphis’ medical district, but Google Fiber could help foster newer opportunities within it. Imagine video conferencing with patients or performing surgery via robots hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Not only could Google Fiber foster new opportunities for Memphis, lack of healthcare could become less of an obstacle. In fact, this resonates with more than just healthcare. Education, jobs, access to information, and more have become the forefront of problems here in the Bluff city, but could all become less of an obstacle with newly available access to high speed and affordable internet. In addition, while many Memphians lack routine access to the internet, this puts our city at a disadvantage when it comes to identifying, cultivating, and supporting potential innovators and leaders. Bringing Google FIber will dramatically increase the educational and economic resources available to all Memphians, and many of the underprivileged will be able to realize their full potential.
Despite the shortcomings, there are several elements that bring Memphians from every socioeconomic background together. Several Memphis businesses have appeared on FORTUNE’s list for best companies to work for, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, FedEx, Medtronic, First Horizon (parent company of First Tennessee), and others. Forbes has ranked Memphis #4 on their list of the Happiest Cities for Job-Seeking College Grads. In addition, The love and support of Memphis shows when we come together to cheer on the Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis Tigers. Memphis loves basketball, so when it’s game time, we make it known our love for the team is nothing short of superb. When it comes to BBQ, nothing compares to what you’ll find and experience in Memphis. Memphians enjoy eating barbecue during any holiday or special occasion, and some of the best BBQ eateries originated in the Bluff City. In addition, every year Memphis hosts the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest as part of Memphis in May. And of course Music always brings Memphis together. From its legendary-past of likes from Elvis Presley and present Justin Timberlake, to its up-and-coming artist scene, Memphis can never lose touch with its feel and love for music. Together, these elements bring Memphians together and empower us as a family, and Memphis is ready to welcome Google Fiber into its family. We can begin to address one less desirable aspect of our legacy while at the same time fostering new opportunities for economic development all across the city. As citizens of Memphis we ask Google to bring their fiber-optic broadband internet-service to Memphis with open arms, because the service would not only impact the people of Memphis, but the entire world.