Note: The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Stacy Higginbotham, writing at the Silicon Valley website GigaOm, wonders what in the world ever happened to the Google Fiber project?

Several groups in the Triangle and across North Carolina joined hundreds of others across the country who lobbied the search giant to pick their communities for the high-speed broadband program. Remember all the offers to name babies and cities after Google’s founders and such?

Some communities, such as Austin, Minn. And Palo Alto, Calif., continue to hold rallies in hoping of winning Google’s project. Yet there’s no recent update to the project at Google.

Three months into 2011, no announcement has yet to be made even though one was promised last year and then delayed to this year after a change in leadership.

Still, Higginbotham, is wondering if Google just wasn’t using Google Fiber as a threat against Internet Service Providers.

“To be fair, when Google delayed the news of which town it had selected, it did announce that Milo Medlin would take over the project, and the lucky town would be announced in 2011,” Higginbotham reported. “Technically Google and Medlin have nine more months to name a winner, and Medlin’s appointment in December as the head of the effort may have restarted the clock on plans.”

However, the GigaOm writer says Medlin has a “somewhat of a shaky track record” in leading other broadband efforts.

“I’ve asked Google for access to Medlin as well as for comment on what the status of its fiber network is, but the company hasn’t responded,” Higginbotham wrote. “I am left wondering if instead of wiring up a municipality, Google may have used its contest to win a fiber network as a threat to bring ISPs around to its way of thinking on issues such as network neutrality and tiered broadband.”

It will be interesting to see if Google responds to the article – but more importantly offer some insight into what’s really happening with the project.

Will there ever be a Googleville?

Read Higginbotham’s story here.

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