The Triangle and Charlotte are one step closer to possibly landing a Google Fiber network that would deliver ultra-fast Internet service and other entertainment services.
On Thursday, Google’s fiber team reported that all metro areas under expansion consideration had completed a “checklist of items” to help Google determine what cities might be the best targets.
That news came on the same day that Google Fiber advocates unveiled a film titled “FiberedUp” that is designed to help convince Google to pick the Triangle.
Google listed the Triangle among nine cities where it wishes to deploy a fiber-optic based network that promises ultra-fast 1-gigabit speeds capable of delivering high-definition video services.
BRINGING FIBER TO THE TRIANGLE: WRAL TechWire coverage
- New film hopes to convince Google to pick Triangle for fiber network
- N.C. Next Generation Network backs AT&T network proposal
- Raleigh signs on to support AT&T plan
- RST Fiber to test network in Wake Forest
- Google’s checklist: What it wants from city governments
A gigabit in speed would be about 100 times faster than a standard cable Internet connection, according to Google. Citing a 2013 industry study, Google says “the average American only experiences speeds of 9.8 [megabits per second], while Google Fiber offers up to 1,000 Mb/sec download and upload.”
Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville and Raleigh were cited by Google in the Triangle selection.
“Back in February, we started working side-by-side with 34 cities in nine U.S. metro areas to explore what it would take to bring Google Fiber to their communities,” wrote Jill Szuchmacher of Google Fiber expansion team in a blog post. “Each city has been busy tackling a checklist of items to help prepare for a big local fiber construction project. We’ve been impressed by the enthusiasm and engagement of every one of these cities, and all of them have, for the most part, completed their checklists.”
However, no deployment decisions are expected before the end of the year.
“We say ‘for the most part’ because there’s still a lot of work to do over the next few months,” Szuchmacher said. “We’ll start by working with cities to tie up some checklist-related loose ends. For example, we worked with city staffers to draft agreements that would let us place fiber huts on city land; several city councils still need to approve these agreements. We may spend some time working together to figure out an ideal permitting process that would be fast and efficient. And, as we review the information that cities have already provided, like infrastructure maps, we’ll probably have a lot of follow-up questions.”
The “fiber huts” are needed to provide space for Google equipment.
City leaders in Raleigh and Cary have also already embraced a gigabit Internet network plan offered by AT&T which has the backing of the North Carolina Next Generation Network consortium.
RST Fiber, a privately held North Carolina firm based in Shelby, is also targeting the Triangle for a fiber optic network. It has struck an agreement with Wake Forest to begin testing there.
Google Fiber is already deployed in Kansas City and is rolling out services in Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas.
Google’s Szuchmacher said much remains to be done before any more expansion can be started.
“There’s also a lot to do beyond the checklist,” she said. “We’ll need to work with either the city or the state to get something called a video franchise agreement, which would basically grant us permission to build a local network. We may also need pole-attachment agreements with local utilities or other companies who can rent us space on their poles. (Stringing fiber along existing poles is the fastest and least disruptive way to deploy it.)”
Next comes designing networks and drawing up blueprints.
“These detailed designs will help us see how complex it would be to build in each city, and will be used as we make our final decisions,” she wrote.
“Finally, don’t be surprised (or get too excited!) if you run into a Google Fiber crew doing work around your town, or see postings for local jobs on our Fiber team; before we make a decision about bringing Fiber to your city, we may do some exploratory work and recruiting so that we’re ready to start construction and operations quickly. We still plan to announce which cities will get Google Fiber by the end of the year.”