Google Fiber explores wider roll-out
February 20, 2014
By Colin Mann
Saying that it has learned a lot from its existing gigabit Internet Google Fiber projects, Google has invited cities in nine metro areas around the US – 34 cities altogether – to work with it to explore the possibility of bringing the service to those locations.
In a blog post, Milo Medin, VP, Google Access Services,notes that over the last few years, gigabit Internet has moved from idea to reality, with dozens of communities (PDF) working hard to build networks with speeds 100 times faster than what most of us live with today. “People are hungrier than ever for faster Internet, and as a result, cities across America are making speed a priority. Hundreds of mayors from across the have stated that abundant high-speed Internet access is essential for sparking innovation, driving economic growth and improving education. Portland, Nashville and dozens of others have made high-speed broadband a pillar of their economic development plans. And Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, declared in June that every school should have access to gigabit speeds by 2020.”
Madin says that Google has long believed that the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, and it is“fantastic” to see this momentum. “And now that we’ve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks. So we’ve invited cities in nine metro areas around the US – 34 cities altogether – to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google fibre.”
He says that Google aims to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber. “Between now and then, we’ll work closely with each city’s leaders on a joint planning process that will not only map out a Google Fiber network in detail, but also assess what unique local challenges we might face. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimise disruption for residents.”
According to Medin, Google will work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, such as topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. “For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.”
Although Medin says that Google wants to to bring Fiber to every one of the cities, it might not work out for everyone. “But cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network. In fact, we want to give everyone a boost in their thinking about how to bring fiber to their communities; we plan to share what we learn in these 34 cities.
He concludes by asking followers to stay tuned for updates, and hopes the news inspires more communities across America to take steps to get to a gig.
The cities in question are in the metropolitan areas of San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; San Antonio; Nashville; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Portland, Ore.