In addition, more than 194,000 individuals responded, Google said. The company has put a map up on its corporate blog showing which cities have the most response. Unfortunately, the company appears to be looking primarily at raw numbers and not responses per capita; with such a scoring system, large cities will certainly have an advantage over smaller ones.
Google said that for the rest of the year, it will be looking at the responses, then conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations, with the goal of announcing its "Google community" by the end of this year. It isn't clear when the network will be built.
Ironically, the announcement is coming just as the first phase of federal government stimulus grant funding is ending. It will be interesting to see how Google's chosen community's results compared with those of the cities that receive stimulus funding.
"If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access," the Mountain View, Calif., company said.
Cities have been competing to show which of them has the most motivated populace. "We've seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities," the company said. (Some cities didn't do so well in the YouTube department.)
What isn't clear is how the cities will pay for the service and keep it ongoing, particularly if something should happen to Google.
PC World's David Coursey suggested that, instead of having cities show how happy they are, Google should instead focus on cities that most need the help. "Here's my proposal: Google should install its gigabit network in places like Cleveland; Stockton, California; Memphis, Tennessee; Detroit; and Flint, Michigan. Last month, these five cities, in that order, were ranked as the "Most Miserable" cities in America by Forbes magazine," he said. "I'm thinking that a superfast network could improve the business environment in these places, help education, create new jobs, and provide entertainment for the presumably miserable residents. Won't solve their problems, but certainly might help."