Topeka, Kansas becomes Google, Kansas to get the company's attention for the 1 Gbps broadband planLast month, Google announced plans to roll out 1 Gbps Internet connections to at least 50,000 Americans in a pilot program designed to test the technology and new ways of getting that speed to private homes as cheaply as possible. At the same time, it also set plans in motion by asking local administrations from around the country to apply for the program to be rolled out in their city or town. The benefits of having a gigabit infrastructure are obvious, so there's a bit of a competition to get picked by Google. The city of Topeka, Kansas figured it needed something to catch Google's attention and changing its name to Google, Kansas seemed like a sure-fire way.
Topeka Mayor Bill Bunten proposed and then signed a proclamation asking for the city to be known as "Google, Kansas — the capital city of fiber optics" for the entire month of March. With the support of the local city council, the mayor made the move official, though it's not really a legal name change. Lawyers told Bunten, apparently, that changing the city's name for just one month wasn't possible. Why that was even considered is a bit of a mystery.
So, as it stands, everyone is asked to refer to the city as Google, but there is no actual requirement to do so. Still, the move would seem a bit peculiar for most places, but not for Topeka, which actually has a history of funky names. In 1998, the city changed its name, temporarily, to ToPikachu, when Pokemon started airing in the US. Yes, that's probably as dumb as it sounds, but a little fun never hurt anybody.
If this will be enough to get Google's attention remains to be seen, but the company probably has other criteria when judging potential locations other than honorific names. There are no clear plans for Google's 1 Gbps fiber-to-home network for now and the preliminary period is likely to continue for some time. [via CJonline.com]