While some cities are posting YouTube videos and having their mayors skydive or jump into freezing rivers, Westerville is using a straightforward approach in its attempt to be chosen as a pilot community for the Google Fiber network.

While some cities are posting YouTube videos and having their mayors skydive or jump into freezing rivers, Westerville is using a straightforward approach in its attempt to be chosen as a pilot community for the Google Fiber network.

"We kind of developed right away a gimmick-free strategy to go for this," said Christa Dickey, Westerville's community affairs administrator. "We have all these things in place that make us feel like an ideal community."

Google Fiber is a new network being tested by the company that it claims will provide broadband service 100 times faster than what is currently available.

The company has put out a call to municipalities to submit applications or for residents to nominate their communities.

Since February, Westerville has been working with Maryland-based Columbia Telecommunications Corp., which it contracted with for up to $5,800 to help create an application for the Google pilot.

Dickey said the city chose to work with an outside contractor because the city has no in-house Internet expert and the company, which has worked with the city on its fiber optics network, has a better understanding of Google.

In its application, which Westerville submitted by the March 26 deadline, Dickey said the city emphasized its current or planned technologies, such as the fiber optics network and a planned data center, as attributes that make it ideal for Google's pilot program.

"Our strategy was really focusing on Westerville's amenities and our residents," Dickey said.

With technologically savvy residents and a city government and staff that support technological development, Dickey said Google could be sure that its fiber network would find a natural home in Westerville, with no real efforts needed to convince the city or its residents of the network's value.

"The thing we're really focusing on is that they can get in here and mobilize quickly, and they would have support from day one if they chose Westerville," Dickey said. "They can hit the ground running from day one in Westerville."

Westerville would benefit from the Google Fiber network, she said, because as technology moves forward, the city needs to be prepared for the needs of future generations and companies.

"We know it's going to be the future infrastructure of the jobs that are going to be created here," Dickey said. "We want to be prepared for that."

While faster Internet access may sound trivial, Dickey said people have no way of knowing what an impact a dramatically faster network would have.

"I think this is what we were looking at several years ago when people were using dial-up, and we couldn't imagine when DSL came," she said. "I just don't think we can necessarily imagine what's on the forefront of technology until we can really embrace it."

Despite Westerville's enthusiasm for the project, Dickey said she knows it will be difficult for the city to secure the Google network, especially because so many communities have put their names in the running for the pilot program.

"It has caused excitement for a lot of communities. People all over the country have been talking about what value they believe they (Google) can bring to them," she said. "I'm sure they've gotten a much bigger response than they anticipated."