Google just announced that it's invited nine metro areas across the US to explore "what it would take" to bring its Google Fiber gigabit internet service to more locations. "People are hungrier than ever for faster internet, and as a result, cities across America are making speed a priority," Google says. "We've long believed that the internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so it’s fantastic to see this momentum." Google says up to 34 cities in all could potentially receive Fiber service. The nine metro areas where those cities are located include:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Charlotte, North Carolina
- Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Portland, Oregon
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- San Antonio, Texas
- San Jose, California
Google's hometown of Mountain View, California is also holding talks about Fiber. The company plans to provide an update by the end of 2014 on which destinations will officially join the list of Fiber cities. "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," Google says. That includes studying topography, housing density, and local infrastructure.
Potential cities will also be pitching in to help move that effort along, completing "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," Google says. Cities will also attempt to help Google tap into existing infrastructure like utility poles so the company doesn't have to carry out unnecessarily digging or put up new poles where they already exist.
"Cities who go through this process with us will be more prepared for us or any provider who wants to build a fiber network."
Currently, Google Fiber has a presence in Kansas City and Provo, Utah. Rollouts are also planned for Austin, Texas and Shawnee, Kansas. That relatively small footprint caused plenty of skepticism when Comcast cited Google as a legitimate competitor and a reason its merger with Time Warner Cable should be approved. If Google Fiber expands in a significant way, that argument may start to carry some weight. But Google wants to emphasize that nothing is guaranteed at this stage. "While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone." But even if some deals don't work out, the company says it will share what it learns from going through this process with each city.