ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Google has been making national headlines with the introduction of revolutionary new internet speeds in Kansas City, but a St. Louis group is doing the same thing here, and you might see the fruits of their labor in the Delmar Loop within weeks.
The Loop Data Rail, as it’s being called, is a gigabit speed internet project. The infrastructure will be laid in underneath the tracks being installed for the new Delmar Look Trolley. Proponents say the project could be a game changer for businesses and their customers alike.
“We’re literally gonna put the loop on internet steroids,” Loop Media Hub director David Sandel said.
The first step will be to put in wireless service in six select locations along the loop. That should be done by the end of the summer. And just how fast will the speeds be?
“Most people have something in the 1 go 5 or 10 megabit range at home,” Sandel said. “So that basically means it’s 300 times faster download and 500 times faster upload. So we’re not talking about close to instantaneous response.”
But this isn’t just something that will provide super-fast Facebook. They believe the new system will be a draw for new businesses.
Businesses who are using the system will also have the option of paying for access to a “ticker” that gives them information on everyone on the network at a given time. That sort of data can be incredibly valuable. Faith Verwig, of the high tech infrastructure firm, The Faith Group, LLC, says it will help them better know their customers.
“What they’re interested in. What they stop and dwell at. What peeks their interest. How often they go to certain restaurants and bars and things like that. If you’re a business and have that information available to you, you can modify your service offerings,” she says.
For those worried about the “Big Brother” feel to such data mining, she says there is no need to worry.
“I don’t really know who you are. I just know you were there,” she says.
She says that knowledge should draw new businesses because of the competitive advantage they’ll be given.
“How many neighborhoods are out there that can provide that kind of feedback to the people that are doing business in their neighborhoods?”
Merchants are already aware of the project. Blazing internet speeds are what most are talking about, and the concept seems universally welcome.
Luanne Rimel of the Craft Alliance says you don’t have to be high tech to have high anticipation for this.
“Even though we’re an arts center, we spend a lot of time on the computer, planning, talking to people, doing budgets,” she points out. “So we’re all very excited about faster internet, faster service to customers.”