Google Fiber, the high-speed Internet service that purportedly lets users download a movie in less than a minute, is coming to 18 new cities in four metro areas in the Southeast, the company said Tuesday.
Atlanta; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee, are the next areas where Google will roll out its fiber optic network, which promises speeds of 1 gigabit per second. That’s 100 times faster than basic broadband service.
“We can’t wait to see what people and businesses across the Southeast U.S. do with gigabit speeds,” Dennis Kish, a Google vice president in charge of Fiber, said in a blog post.
Google launched Fiber in 2012. It’s live in Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Provo, Utah. Announcements are expected later this year in five cities where Google is considering Fiber: Phoenix; Portland, Oregon; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; and San Jose, California.
In Austin, Google Fiber costs $70 a month for Internet, or $130 if you add streaming video.
More than a convenience for residential customers, Fiber is a tool that will contribute to recruiting and expanding high-tech business, say Google and leaders in the cities where the service is coming.
“High-speed Internet access is essential to participate in the 21st-century economy,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a news release. “In addition to supporting our thriving tech and startup communities, Google Fiber will bring greater economic opportunities to every quadrant of the city, so that the next great business idea is just as likely to come from southwest Atlanta as it is from any other neighborhood.”
Next, Google will be working with cities to create detailed maps of where it can put its thousands of miles of fiber. The company expects that designing the network will take several months. Construction will begin when that process is complete.
Google isn’t the only major player looking to expand high-speed Internet throughout the country. Last year, AT&T announced it was considering making its own 1-gigabit-per-second service available in up to 100 cities in 21 metro areas.
Last week during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama said he would work to make high-speed Internet more easily available, calling it a requirement “so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”