The Mountain View company says it has "started early discussions" with officials in 34 cities around the country, including Phoenix, Nashville, and Portland. (A full map of current and potential Google Fiber sites is here.) In a blog post, Google's Milo Medin said a range of factors would go into the decisions, including an examination of topography, housing density, and the condition of local infrastructure.
"We aim to provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will be getting Google Fiber," he wrote. "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. These are such big jobs that advance planning goes a long way toward helping us stick to schedules and minimize disruption for residents."
Fiber is already being rolled out in three American cities: Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; and Kansas City, Kansas. The appeal of the service – which is said to hit speeds 100 times that of the average broadband connection – is clear, and cities have been tripping over each other in an effort to bring Google to their home turf. And yet, as Farhad Manjoo wrote last year in a piece for Slate, Fiber may be "totally awesome," but it's also "totally unnecessary."
The average Web user, Mr. Manjoo points out, will never be able to take full advantage of Fiber's speeds, even if they are running several gadgets simultaneously on the same connection.
Speaking to residents of Kansas City, Manjoo found that people "were all thrilled that Google had come to town, and the few who’d gotten access to the Google pipe said they really loved it. But I couldn’t find a single person who’d found a way to use Google Fiber to anywhere near its potential – or even a half or quarter of what it can do."