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Google Fiber May Branch Out to 34 New Cities

Google reported on Wednesday that it is now eyeing 34 cities in 9 metropolitan areas as the next destination for Google Fiber.

Milo Medin, VP of Google Access Services, says that the company has learned quite a lot from building the 1 Gbps fiber optic network in Kansas City, Austin and Provo. The company is now ready to move on to more towns, and will provide updates by the end of the year regarding which of these cities will get the Google Fiber treatment.

“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,” Medin writes. “These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents.”

Medin says the Fiber team plans to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction including topography, housing density and the condition of the local infrastructure. At the same time, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for such a large undertaking as Google Fiber.

“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,” he writes. “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.”

He admits that not every city will receive Google Fiber. However by going through the process, they may be more prepared for some other company to come in and install their own Gigabit network. Medin says that Google plans to share what it learns in the 34 cities to other network providers.

According to a list of cities, Google has set its sights on Atlanta and eight cities in the surrounding area; Charlotte, NC; seven cities in the Raleigh-Durham, NC area; Nashville; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; Phoenix and two nearby cities; Portland and five nearby cities; San Jose and four cities.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed told the San Jose Mercury News that he wants to pursue Google’s project. "It would be great for our residents to have really fast Internet service," Reed said. “[On a national level], high-speed Internet access is one of the things we need for economic development. The U.S. generally is far behind other parts of the world."

"We’re excited by the call and the invitation," said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. "The opportunity for our residents is enormous. Bringing fiber to every household changes the dynamic."

Currently Google Fiber resides in Kansas City and Provo, Utah and will soon launch in Austin, Texas. Once completed, there are three Fiber plans to choose from: Free Internet for a $300 construction fee (or $25/mo for 12 months that provides up to 5 Mbps download and up to 1 Mbps upload speed; Gigabit Internet for $70/month, and Gigabit + TV for $120 per month.