Google has confirmed plans to expand its Google Fiber Internet service to four U.S. metropolitan areas in the Southeast.
In a company blog post published earlier today, Google Fiber Vice President Dennis Kish said 18 cities in the Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Charlotte, N.C. metropolitan areas have been greenlit to receive access to the ultra high-speed Internet service. At one gigabit per second, Google Fiber promises connection speeds up to 10 times faster than the current U.S. average.
“Our next step is to work with cities to create a detailed map of where we can put our thousands of miles of fiber, using existing infrastructure such as utility poles and underground conduit, and making sure to avoid things like gas and water lines,” Kish said. “Then a team of surveyors and engineers will hit the streets to fill in missing details. Once we’re done designing the network (which we expect to wrap up in a few months), we’ll start construction”
Rumors about Google Fiber coming to the Southeast first started circulating late last night after the Wall Street Journal reported that the search engine giant was planning a series of media events in each of the four metro areas named above. Citing “two people familiar with the situation,” the Journal said an announcement about a Google Fiber service expansion was highly likely.
Despite confirmation today that Fiber is officially on the way, details about how much the service will cost or even when it will be available remain scarce. Earlier today, on a conference call that the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Urvaksh Karkaria called “devoid of details,” Google Fiber business operations chief Kevin Lowe offered little insight into what the timeline for actually implementing the service will look like.
“Building a brand new fiber-optic network is a really big job,” Lowe said on the call. “We need to build thousands of miles of fiber…in the Atlanta area. We expect this process to take many months.”
While Google has been hesitant to provide much helpful information so far, its other Fiber customers could provide some clues about what’s in store. According to CNET, for example, Fiber access in Kansas costs about $80 a month. Of course, past experience suggests that it could take up to a year or more before residents in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina residents will be able to plug in.
The Southeast will soon join Kansas City, Provo, Utah, and Austin Texas on Google’s list of metropolitan areas connected to the Google Fiber network. Google has been notoriously conservative about its expansion plans for Fiber, and only considers areas that have actively expressed an interest in the service. Other regions currently on Google’s shortlist include Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose, Calif.
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