(Merced Sun-Star photo by Bea Ahbeck -- From left, Merced Union High School District's Anthony Thomas, Mark Hendrickson, Director of Merced County Department of Commerce, Aviation and Economic Development, Rod La Salle, with Merced Ahead, John Cale, consultant and CEO with Mobile Ehs, and Linda Burk, Director of services with Merced County office of education, applaud as Amber St. Clair- Phillips, special projects grant writer with Merced County, hits 'send' on their application to Google to be chosen for Google's ultra-high-speed internet test, in Atwater, Calif. Wed. March 24, 2010.)
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Today, the city unveiled a Web site outlining the top 10 reasons why Merced is a good candidate for Google's ultra-high-speed Internet. Most of the reasons provided are fairly obvious (We've got UC Merced! ... We like technology!) but reason No. 7 could pique Google's interest -- it points out that there's plenty of "dark fiber" and abandoned fiber already along Highway 99 and the Union Pacific tracks.
The site also provides letters of support from a handful of civic organizations. Interestingly enough, a letter from the George Washington Carver Center Board of Directors focuses on South Dos Palos and attempts to appeal to Google's altruistic nature: "With respect to health care and services, the closest is located in the City of Dos Palos Los Banos is about 15 miles away, and services at the Merced hospital, 45 miles away. ... This could be the coming together of a critical mass to provide a small community such as South Dos Palos, Planada, Merced, or any other combination of communities listed in the proposal, as the trial vehicle to provide streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the Web, without having to travel up to 45 miles to receive health care."
* * *This support video was submitted by Matt Hirota.
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Finally, a nod to my wife, Amanda, who owns Sweet Temptations Bakery in Downtown Merced. She made a sheet cake with Google's logo and "Merced, Ca." written in the search bar. The cake will be delivered Friday to Google's headquarters in Mountain View.
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Google is accepting applications until Friday. You can submit an application at this address: https://www.google.com/appserve/fiberrfi/