Google Fiber is coming to the Triangle, industry sources say, and construction could begin as early as April.
A formal announcement might come as early as next week at Google events in Raleigh and Durham, but the company won’t say what those events are about.
Speaking to WRAL TechWire, a source who asked to remain anonymous said Google is seeking bids to begin building a fiber network as early as April. “Drill crews” have been sought for the fiber-laying process.
Google has been talking with Triangle-area engineering firms as well about a network, added another source who declined to be quoted by name..
Google did not respond to a request for comment submitted through its media representatives in the Triangle.
Google has been in active discussions with local government representatives in both Raleigh and Cary about negotiating rights-of-way access and obtaining the zoning needed for the positioning of so-called “fiber huts” that would protect the network’s equipment.
Google has steadfastly refused to discuss any possible Triangle plans, having delayed a fiber expansion announcement that had been expected before 2014 came to a close.
Raleigh: No comment
WRAL TechWire reported Dec. 2 that Google had formed a Google Fiber company legally in North Carolina.
When a top Google Fiber executive came to town on Dec. 9, she talked about how communities can work with Google Fiber to land possible expansion and praised Raleigh’s efforts, led by Chief Technology Officer Gail Roper.
Roper declined to comment about Google when reached by WRAL Capitol Bureau Chief Laura Leslie, citing a non-disclosure agreement.
Google has scheduled events on Jan. 28 in Raleigh and 29 in Durham.
AT&T declined comment when asked if the company was aware of Google’s plans. .
The company also declined to respond to a question about whether Google would seek to lease so-called “dark,” or unused fiber, that AT&T is already laying in parts of the Triangle for its own “U-verse with GigaPower” entertainment and Internet network.
Google Fiber and AT&T’s network offer gigabit Internet access, which is up to 100 times faster than standard Internet speeds.
AT&T is in the process of designing the North Carolina Next Generation Network, having won a contract from a consortium that includes the cities of Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Winston-Salem as well as Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University.
Frontier: Fiber not for sale
Frontier Communications is building its own fiber service in Durham County and says it won’t be providing fiber to any other providers.
“We do not sell or lease dark fiber,” said Dennis Bloss, vice president and general manager for Frontier Communications in North Carolina. “We will be using our fiber for our network.”
Bloss also said he had not been contacted by Google.
Google Fiber operates in the Kansas City area and is going head-to-head with AT&T in Austin, Texas.