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Google Plans Ultrafast Broadband At Stanford

Google's ties to Stanford University, the alma mater of company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have brought a variety of benefits to the school over the years. The latest windfall comes in the form of ultrafast Internet connectivity.

Google on Thursday said that it had reached an agreement with Stanford University to deploy a super-speed broadband network to the university's Residential Subdivision, a group of about 850 homes on the university's campus owned by faculty and staff.

The project is expected to begin construction in early 2011. When it's complete, Stanford faculty and staff in the project area can expect Internet speeds of up to 1 Gbps per second.

The average broadband speed in the U.S. is about 10 Mbps, or 100 times less.

In a blog post, Google product manager James Kelly credits Stanford's willingness to let Google experiment with new fiber technologies on its streets, the size of the test site, and the site's proximity to Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters as reasons the university was chosen.

Kelly also stresses that the Stanford ultrafast broadband project is distinct from the Google Fiber project, which will bring ultrafast broadband to somewhere between 50,000 and 500,000 people in the next few years.

"Stanford’s Residential Subdivision -- our first 'beta' deployment to real customers -- will be a key step towards that goal," said Kelly. "We’ll be able to take what we learn from this small deployment to help scale our project more effectively and efficiently to much larger communities."

Google is still planning to announce which communities will receive lightning-fast broadband before the end of 2010.