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“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not…

in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) “The Wizard of Oz

Those of you who have not run a GoogleTopeka” search today might find it difficult to believe the announcement that “Today we are pleased to announce that as of 1AM (Central Daylight Time) April 1st, Google has officially changed our name to Topeka.

So did a number of high school students I talked to today, until they went to the search page.

In America, and California, “all things are possible,” particularly on April Fools’ Day. :-) However, it is probably important not to honor the day TOO much – Sun Microsystems did, and look what happened to THEM! 😉

Early in March, the mayor of Topeka, Kansas “stunned the world” by his announcement that the city was changing its name to Google. Today, Google returned the compliment.

Of course, the good folks of Topeka, Kansas were trying to attract Google’s attention with regard to “Google Fiber for Communities,” which I wrote about in February. Google will boost the Internet speed of at least 50,000 lucky people (and potentially 500,000 people) in the U.S. to greater than 100 times faster (essentially “Gigabit Internet”) than what most Americans currently have available to them, at competitive rates, by running fiber optic cable to their homes.

Likely, Google will “be a game-changer” in the process and upset the more “stodgy” telecommunications companies that are happy to “rake in” your money without such major improvements in speed.

(Coincidentally, :-) I just listened to a phone conversation of my wife “blasting” Verizon, after she switched from AT&T, with regard to a “parental usage allowance” that MERELY sends a text message when children exceed their allotted minutes, BUT DOES NOT STOP THEM FROM USING MORE, all at a cost of $4.99/month for the text messages! Maybe I should not bother to wait for a “Verizon iPhone” after all! The “customer poll” phone call that Verizon sent to her TIMED OUT – I guess that Verizon can only handle so much “bad news.” :-) It looks like it may be time to look at a stronger regulation of the telecommunications industry, AGAIN, even though the industry is involved in doing so much of the work of “government.” When I worked at Sun, I found an article online, written by a lawyer who defended telecommunications companies, entitled, “Why Telecommunications Companies Lie.” The answer was, basically, “to keep in practice.” :-) I have looked for the article on several occasions, including tonight, to no avail. If you find it, please send me the link.)

(Note added April 9, 2010: I am sure that I was thinking about this article in eWeek in 2003 entitled, “What Telcos Lie About,” by Caron Carlson, interviewing Hank Levine, a lawyer who has spent 10 years negotiating telecommunications contracts for large enterprises. The article starts out, “Carriers lie like addicts in withdrawal,” according to Levine. :-) A follow-on article “CLECs <competitive local eschange carriers> Ask Congress to Investigate “Bell Cartel” was referenced. I’m not sure “whatever happened to” THAT idea. :-) )

-Bill at

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