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Google Fiber explores high-speed Internet for low-income areas of Nashville

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Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Fiber is apparently taking a different twist on the old practice of cherry-picking. Rather than seeking out the deep-pocketed neighborhoods that would line up for its 1 Gbps broadband service, company officials were reportedly heading to Nashville this week to determine how they can bring high-speed access to "neighborhoods historically lacking access to that kind of service," a story in The Tennessean reported.

Google Fiber Program Manager Erica Swanson was to meet with local city officials, non-profits and tech organizations to determine what Nashville citizens need in the way of high-speed connectivity and what challenges will present in fulfilling those needs, the story said.

The meeting (Swanson's third with Nashville officials) is "expected to be the first of many concerning digital inclusion that Google Fiber will have with city leaders," the story continued, noting that it should give Google Fiber "a better understanding of what efforts are already under way in Nashville concerning connectivity and what specific challenges the city faces."

An obvious challenge--or opportunity, depending on how it's viewed--might be the fact that reportedly 32 percent of Tennessee households are not connected to the Internet and 44 percent of Nashville metro school students live in households without Internet capabilities, according to IT services director Keith Durbin.

Google's willingness to face these statistics "shows they recognize what an issue it is and that it's something that communities everywhere are struggling with," he told the newspaper.

For more:
- see this story in The Tennessean

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