Garner Town Manager Hardin Watkins hit the nail on the head this week when he said that the possiblity of getting Google’s new highspeed Google Fiber product in our town opens the door for new opportunities and serves as an invitation for the creative set to locate in Garner.
Technology and knowledge services have clearly raced to the fore in our ever-changing economy. Access to information – whether it’s from an Internet database or the pages of the Garner-Cleveland Record – has become the modern-day tool for success. Google Fiber’s service makes accessing that information even faster. For those who rely heavily on technology to do their work or live their lives, it’s a big plus to be able to get to that information quickly without logging untold hours getting where we want to go on the information superhighway.
Google officials have said they will soon begin investigating the communities named in their announcement Wednesday. They will be looking at a number of issues Garner can do little or nothing about – topography and infrastucture. The company will also be holding meetings with public officials to determine what needs to be done to make the installation of this service a reality. That’s a nice way of asking, what will each of these towns and cities do for Google to make it worth their while to install the service here.
To be sure, there is a financial incentive for towns and cities like Garner to work with the company and not make it a painful challenge to bring Google Fiber here. The opposite is also true. The towns and cities in the running for this new service should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Bending over too far can mean the difference in improving the quality of life and reversing it. The town of Garner – and other municipalities – will likely be asked to ease rules and fast-track permits. The town should always be striving for efficiency, but not at the cost of poor quality of work. The town should be willing to look for ways to streamline the processes to handle the increased volume of work. Never should decisions be made that negatively impact people who already live and work in Garner.
There is a methodical way the town can measure the positives behind Google’s possible arrival against the negatives.
It’s been about four years since Garner signed on for the opportunity to host Google Fiber. We are certain the town explored all the ramifications and has some idea of how far it will go to accomodate the technology giant.
It is our hope that Google’s needs are manageable and that the town and all its residents – both present and future – can benefit from the presence of Google Fiber. Newer, better, faster technology, is a good thing. As long as the cost – in financial terms and in human terms – aren’t too high.