Right on schedule, Google has confirmed the next cities to receive its high-speed Google Fiber gigabit internet and TV service. According to a blog post from the company, 18 cities across four major metropolitan areas — Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Raleigh-Durham — will be the next to receive Google Fiber. This matches up with recent reports indicating that these cities, which were already on Google's roadmap as potential future fiber cities, would be officially announced this week. Google also noted that it is continuing to explore options for bringing fiber to Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and San Jose and would have more updates on those cities this year.
Launching across all four of these metropolitan areas makes this probably the biggest rollout of Google Fiber yet — most recently, signups opened in Austin, but Google has thus far typically announced only a single city at a time. Of course, these four new cities are a long way from actually being able to have customers sign up for the service and get it installed. Google says that its next step is to work with the cities in question to design a plan and map for exactly how and where it'll be able to install the network. That planning process should be done in the next few months, at which time construction will begin.
This announcement comes at a time when the definition of broadband is coming under scrutiny — President Obama said recently that he'd make increasing the availability of cheaper, high-speed internet a priority. But cable companies recently reacted negatively to a new FCC proposal that would redefine broadband as 25Mbps downloads and 3Mbps uploads. Regardless of that protest, it's clear that some companies and a lot of consumers — as well as the government — think that the US needs to stop lagging behind much of the rest of the world. Google getting fiber out to more customers is one way to help improve that unfortunate situation.