Kirksville Unites to Attract Google Fiber

Students and employees from Truman and A.T. Still University of Health Sciences are organizing to support an effort to convince Google to bring one gigabit data fiber connections to every home and business in Kirksville.

Several Truman and ATSU representatives, along with leaders from the city of Kirksville, area utilities, businesses and interested citizens, began the process of responding to an open request for information from Google at a meeting Feb. 23.

According to Google, the company plans to install and test fiber-to-the-home Internet networks in one or more selected locations around the country. The connections would be more than one gigabit per second, which is more than 100 times faster than most services today. Google asked communities to submit a proposal outlining why they would be ideal candidates for the experiment.

Bryan Krusniak, director of ATSU’s Department of Information Technology and Services, began organizing key players from both universities, the city and several local businesses last week to help give the proposal form. As of March 1, a Facebook group supporting the initiative included nearly 1,800 fans, and a campaign website is under development.

“A key component to making this proposal successful is demonstrating to Google that Kirksville wants and needs this kind of service,” Krusniak said. “We need to prove that we can do great things with the added bandwidth. That means bringing lots of voices to the table to brainstorm ideas about what this would mean for the community. It also means we need the community to demonstrate widespread support for the project.”

On its website, Google imagines, “sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York,” “downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes” or “collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture.”

Kevin Minch, director of the Truman Institute and one of the early collaborators on the initiative, said, “The potential academic applications are significant. Not only can this enhance our capacity to perform research and allow students to collaborate at a distance, but winning access to this network could really help Truman further fulfill its statewide educational mission by providing extra-high quality distance learning opportunities that are consistent with Truman’s mission.”

Minch echoed Krusniak’s call for public involvement and described efforts already under way to get the Truman community involved.

“Anyone can submit a nomination to Google advocating for Kirksville as a site for this project,” Minch said. “Additional applications strengthen our argument. We are also working with members of Truman’s Student Senate to sponsor a viral video contest encouraging students to design short advertisements for YouTube and the web-based portion of Kirksville’s application.”

The Truman Institute will sponsor a public rally at 8 p.m. March 4 in Violette 1000 on the Truman campus. Video cameras will be present to record testimony by members of the University and Kirksville communities about how they would use the enhanced bandwidth to enhance their lives and work. Comments will be edited and used to provide additional support to the application.

“We want to use the same kind of innovative technology that Google uses to promote its products to sell Kirksville,” said Todd Kuhns, web services manager for Truman ITS and a member of the Kirksville City Council. “That means viral video, the web and social networking. Our students are masters of these media and can demonstrate the potential for what more bandwidth could do for Kirksville.”

People interested in learning more about the initiative can visit the group on the web at or join the Facebook group at
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