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Google Fiber Proposes Major Expansion, But Continues to Ignore the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic

Phillip Dampier February 19, 2014 Broadband Speed, Competition, Consumer News, Google Fiber, Public Policy & Gov't 8 Comments

Google has proposed expanding its gigabit fiber network to nine metropolitan areas around the United States, but none of them include cities in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast dominated by Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Verizon FiOS.

google fiber

Altogether, the expansion project could bring fiber to the home Internet service to 34 new cities:

  • Arizona: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
  • California: San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto
  • Georgia: Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna
  • North Carolina: Charlotte, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh
  • Oregon: Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Tigard
  • Tennessee: Nashville-Davidson
  • Texas: San Antonio
  • Utah: Salt Lake City

Google’s Fiber Blog:

google fiberNow 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 U.S.—34 cities altogether—to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.

We aim 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 minimize disruption for residents.

We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like 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.

While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these 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, and in the meantime you can check out some tips in a recent guest post on the Google Fiber blog by industry expert Joanne Hovis. Stay tuned for updates, and we hope this news inspires more communities across America to take steps to get to a gig.

Google does not guarantee every community will actually get the service, and a read between the lines makes it clear that a close working relationship between Google and city officials and utilities will be essential for projects to move forward. Bureaucratic red tape could be a fiber-killer in some of these communities, as could an intransigent utility fighting to keep Google fiber off utility-owned poles.

Google continues to completely ignore the northeastern United States for fiber expansion. Analysts suggest Google will not enter areas where fiber broadband service already exists, and this region of the country is home to the largest deployment of Verizon’s FiOS. Despite the fact Verizon has canceled further expansion, and large sections of the region have little chance of seeing a fiber upgrade anytime soon, Google seems more interested in serving the middle of the country and fast growing areas including North Carolina, Georgia, Phoenix and Texas. Its choice of San Jose obviously reflects the presence of Silicon Valley.

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Currently there are 8 comments on this Article:

  1. Milan in Austin says:

    Great news! Let’s hope this is just the beginning of Google’s nationwide fiber expansion.
    In a perfect world, Google Fiber would be available coast to coast by 2020 followed by the telecommunication monopolies being driven into extinction!

  2. google fiber says:

    Can you please bring google fiber to Canada? I really want powerful internet which is better than cable…. I can only have rogers in my area… that sucks to me……

  3. GerAng says:

    Well, one favorable thing that I could see happening is cable companies being forced to compete in more locations with google, and other communities that only have a cable monopoly can negotiate “favored nation” pricing when the franchise agreement is up for renewal.

    Something else that I’d like to see…. much like the Chatanooga Gig people offer their consultation services, google fiber could do the same thing as well. Communities, armed with this knowledge could choose to build out their own systems.

  4. tacitus says:

    I can only think that this announcement makes it harder to stop the Comcast takeover of Time Warner. They will point to Google’s expansion as evidence that the competition is healthy in the ISP business, and they can point to the power and growth of YouTube when it comes to content creation and ad revenue.

    They may not be too happy about Google’s plans, but they will certainly make lemonade out of the lemons.

    • Scott says:

      Hardly, Google is only “inviting” 34 cities that are in just nine “metro areas.” So unless you live within the suburbs around the selected nine cities, you’re out of luck.

      Those cities also will all have to be ready meet Google’s demands for access, tax breaks, or timely decisions to have the work done or they’ll be denied as seen elsewhere.

      This doesn’t even put a dent in the ISP market for consumers even if it happens, and it’s already taken what? 4 years just for Google Fiber to get as far as they have in 3 cities?

      • Ian L says:

        It’s a slow process, but these upgrades are already pushing companies to be more competitive. I’ll probably have 200/20 (I don’t care too much about the extra 100M down) TWC before I get GFiber…competition at work.

        • Scott says:

          That still only helps customers like yourself in territories where ISP/Cable Co’s are changing pricing plans in your area to compete with Google.

          If it’s enough to make them change their pricing plans/offers for all the territories they service that don’t have Google Fiber available, then yes it would have a major benefit nationally for ALL broadband consumers.

          I just don’t see that being realistic, anymore than I do thinking companies like Comcast will abandon their plans to meter/cap customers for additional revenue due to perceived competition from a provider like Google that only has a limited presence in a couple markets.

      • tacitus says:

        Well, Comcast has already used Google Fiber to argue against FCC-imposed restrictions on their business, and that was before Google’s announced expansion, so there is no doubt they will do the same when it comes to the TWC takeover.

        I agree it’s ridiculous, but Washington has been very much in the pocket of the corporations for the last 25 years, and only the very occasional pro-consumer decision has been made, like the prevention of the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile — something that has indeed benefited consumers, given T-Mobile’s aggressive moves to win over customers from the big three.







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