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Topeka becomes Google, Kan., for a month

They are not in Topeka anymore.

Residents of the city in Kansas are abuzz after their mayor signed a proclamation that for the month of March, Topeka will be known as “Google, Kan.”

It’s part of a campaign to persuade Google to choose the city of 120,000 as the site of a 1-gigabit-per-second fiber-optic broadband network that the Internet giant plans to build as the first outpost of an envisioned nationwide system. That speed would be about 100 times faster than a typical high-speed Internet connection.

Municipalities across the country are competing to land the superfast network.

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Topeka’s isn’t an official, legal name change; more of a request that people honor the proclamation to make a stronger case to Google that Topeka should be the one.

Interest is high. Facebook groups have sprung up to plug different locales.

Topeka has tried this gimmick before. In August 1998, the city changed its name to “ToPikachu” after the Pokemon character.

Other municipalities have gotten into the Internet name game. Halfway, Ore., earned its spot in dot-com history by renaming itself Half.com in 1999 in exchange for $100,000, school computers and other benefits.

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jessica.guynn@latimes.com


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