Google Fiber will expand to four more cities

Google announced on Tuesday that Atlanta; Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. will be getting Google Fiber service soon. Google Fiber offers gigabit speeds – about 100 times faster than the average broadband connection – to residents and businesses.

Erik Schelzig/AP/File
A van announces the impending arrival of Google Fiber service in Nashville, TN.

The tiny list of metro areas enjoying ultra-fast Internet service from Google Fiber is set to grow by four this year. The company announced on Tuesday that Atlanta; Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. will all be getting Google Fiber.

That doesn’t mean that residents of those cities will be enjoying fiber right away, however. Google announced back in 2013 that it would be bringing Fiber to Austin, Texas, but the service only recently became available in a few neighborhoods. So those living in Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, and Raleigh-Durham might have to wait a year or more before Google Fiber actually goes live in their cities.

Google Fiber offers gigabit speeds, meaning that users can upload or download files at 1,000 megabits per second – about 100 times faster than the average American broadband Internet connection. What do people do with all that bandwidth? Kansas City, which got Google Fiber in 2012, created a “startup village” to support local entrepreneurs. Provo, Utah, where Google Fiber service was made available in 2014, started “Dev Mountain,” a 12-week course that teaches people how to code apps for iOS or the Web.

Google Fiber head Dennis Kish said in a blog post that the company has spent more than a year working with city officials to iron out the details of Fiber installation. It will now spend a few months mapping out how to most efficiently lay its fiber optic cables in the four new metro areas, using existing conduits and utility poles where possible. Once that’s done – and once surveyors and engineers have finalized the installation details – the networks will be constructed and area residents will be able to sign up for service.

Mr. Kish also said that Google is still “continuing to explore” expanding Fiber to five extra cities: Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; San Jose, Calif.; and San Antonio, Texas. Those cities were announced as candidates for Google Fiber last year, but evidently haven’t made the cut yet. Google will have an update by the end of 2015 on whether or not it will expand to those cities.

Google Fiber may be expanding slowly, but in some places simply the threat of Google is enough to spur providers to action. AT&T announced fiber broadband services in Austin last year, after Google said it would move in to the city; and smaller providers and municipalities are introducing gigabit fiber Internet in a small but growing number of towns across the country.

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