Photo by Brenda Lin

Last month, Google announced that it will be expanding its Google Fiber network, which is capable of delivering gigabit Internet connection speeds, into Atlanta.

Areas which will be receiving the connections include Atlanta, Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Decatur, Avondale Estates, East Point, College Park, and Hapeville. These locations were selected since there was a higher demand for Google Fiber in these neighborhoods.

“Another possibility is that K–12 schools will be able to participate and benefit from this event,” said Dr. Ron Hutchins, Associate Vice Provost for Research and Technology and Chief Technology Officer.

“Now, students who are living around Atlanta rather than in dormitories will have the same capabilities as students living on campus,” Hutchins said. “This is a major benefit since now students living off campus will not have to come on campus every time they wish to do something that requires a high speed Internet connection. As a result, students might be drawn to live in these specific areas of Atlanta.”

In the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Hutchins explains some of the benefits of having faster Internet speeds available to the population. These benefits include seamless working from home, opportunities to launch businesses from home and also, for example, the ability for elderly patients to have convenient minor check-ins with doctors through high-speed, high-quality video connections.

Students on campus have stated that higher Internet speeds enable them to work more easily and perform a variety of activities without suffering from bottlenecks in their connections.

“Our network will not be changing since we have already had a gigabit connection for a while now,” Hutchins said.

One example would be the possibility for having location based services on campus and around Midtown. Students could simply leave messages based on their location and then anyone walking by would be able to see their message. This could also be useful to inform people of things such as a road being closed, hazards or areas with high traffic.

In general, this ubiquitous high speed connectivity will boost the productivity of people living around Atlanta and make daily life and work easier.

Hutchins also proposes the opportunities that students will have to take this infrastructure presented to them and build something useful and innovative off of it that people on campus and around the city can benefit from.

“We are probably 2 or 3 years out from this project being completed,” Hutchins said. “Google is currently in the design process for this undertaking.”

The mayor of Atlanta has been a big proponent of Fiber coming to Atlanta and has done a lot of work to make it happen, according to Hutchins.