Google readies high-speed Internet connections for 500,000 peopleWant Google (GOOG) to wire your town with super-fast broadband Internet access? Get in line.

The search giant said Friday that it had received over 600 "community responses" after announcing plans last month to build an ultra-fast fiber-optic broadband network for as many as 500,000 U.S. customers. Google has said it doesn't intend to get into the Internet service business. Rather, the plan seems designed to nudge both the federal government and the major Internet providers to ramp up U.S. broadband speeds.

The company also said it has also heard from over 190,000 individuals expressing interest. Friday marks the deadline for submissions of interest.

"Google, Kansas"

"We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate," Google said in a blog post. "This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access."

"Of course, we're not going to be able to build in every interested community," the company added. "Our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment."

Google said it will review the responses, conduct site visits, and meet with local officials before selecting the site for its test. The company plans to announce its "target community or communities" by the end of the year.

Several cites have sought to publicize their interest in attention-grabbing ways. Topeka, Kansas, for example, renamed itself "Google, Kansas" for the entire month of March. Other town have expressed interest in unusual ways, The New York Times reports:
The stunts included the mayor of Duluth, Minn., jumping into Lake Michigan [actually Lake Superior]; the mayor of Sarasota, Fla., swimming with sharks; manatees voting with their snouts; and Sen. Al Franken playing his old comedian self. They've been joined by the Peoria plane; hundreds of students in Ann Arbor, Mich., singing the "A2 Fiber Anthem"; the waving of a flag on Alaska's Mount McKinley; a people-powered light display in Greenville, S.C.; and a video by Sen. Tom Udall, of New Mexico, poking good-natured fun at Mr. Franken's clip.

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