City hopes to boost case to Google by mapping conduits

Workers are mapping Baltimore's underground telecommunications network, an effort that could help the city lure a billion-dollar project offering ultra-high-speed Internet connections to residents and businesses.

Baltimore is one 1,100 communities to apply for the Google Fiber pilot project. On its website, Google Fiber recommends that applicants have a conduit system in place to lay the fiber optic cables. Winners are expected to be announced later this year.

City workers have begun a survey of the city's 3.9 million-foot-long underground conduit system "using state-of-the-art GIS mapping technology," according to a statement from the office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Rawlings-Blake is scheduled to inspect work at a manhole near the intersection of Pratt and Charles streets Thursday.

The mayor is also slated to announce the creation of a broadband task force chaired by Tom Loveland, CEO of the local information technology firm Mind Over Machines and the city's "Google Czar," and Greater Baltimore Committee president Donald Fry to "explore ways to leverage our City's existing resources and assets to increase high-speed connectivity," according to the statement.

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