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Google Fiber looks to bring gigabit internet to 34 new cities, Comcast quakes in its boots


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At long last, Google has announced that it intends to roll out Google Fiber to 34 new cities in nine metropolitan areas, including San Antonio, San Jose, Portland, Phoenix, and Atlanta (a complete list is included below). Google Fiber has been a big success so far, offering true gigabit (1000 megabits per second) speeds to the populace of Kansas City and Provo. Later this year, Google Fiber will be turned on in the popular tech hub of Austin. Hopefully this expansion to 34 new cities is a sign that Google eventually intends to bring Google Fiber to larger/denser metropolitan areas, like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago. At long last, America’s incumbent last-mile ISP monopolies, such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, have something to be afraid of.


Google Fiber is one of Google’s more interesting side projects, bringing gigabit internet access to a few select cities in the US. Gigabit, or 1000Mbps, is about 100 times faster than the average US internet connection. It was first turned on in Kansas City in 2012, expanded to Provo (Utah) in January 2014, and is currently being rolled out in Austin (it’s scheduled to be turned on sometime this year). Google is now looking to expand Google Fiber to 34 cities in nine new metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, and San Jose. For a complete list of cities, hit up the Google Fiber website.

At this point, it’s important to note that this is not confirmation that Google Fiber will actually come to the 34 new cities. Rather, it’s an indication that Google wants to bring Google Fiber to these neighborhoods. What will now follow over the next 12 months is a very complex planning process, where Google will talk to city leaders, obtain maps of existing conduits and ducting, and generally ascertain whether it’s actually feasible to roll out Google Fiber. Google says it aims to provide updates “by the end of the year” that will tell us which cities will actually get Google Fiber.

While San Jose (which includes much of Silicon Valley) and Portland are a significant nod to the US’s technophiles, noticeable omissions are San Francisco (where many Googlers live), Chicago, and New York City. In fact, almost every city listed is small or medium sized, and fairly low-density. We wouldn’t be surprised if Google simply isn’t quite ready to roll out a new network in a city as dense as NYC or SF. Not only would it be a massive financial undertaking, but the roll out itself would likely be hampered by heavy traffic, municipal by-laws, and all of the usual stuff that gets in the way of building new infrastructure in a busy city.

Still, it is very exciting to see Google stepping up its commitment to bringing super-fast internet access to the US. It still isn’t clear what the ultimate business model is, or whether Google even intends to recoup most of its costs, but for now it doesn’t really matter (Google has a ton of money, and the potential gains from becoming a major last-mile ISP are truly massive). It will be very interesting to see how other ISPs react, too. Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner weren’t concerned about Google’s little forays into Kansas City and Provo, but it will be a lot harder to ignore this new push. And, as you surely know, more competition in the ISP market would be a really, really good thing.


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