It appears Google is done experimenting with Fiber, its ultrahigh-speed Internet service, which travels through fiber-optic cables and could run 100 times faster than typical broadband connections, and is ready to give the country what it wants. Google announced on Feb. 19. that they have invited 34 cities to explore what it would take for them to host a Google-run gigabit network in their communities. Fiber rollouts have been popping up around the nation in recent years, with communities in Mississippi and Utah now pursuing gigabit speeds like those long found in Chattanooga, Tenn., and more recently in the first Google Fiber communities of Austin, Texas, Kansas City, and Provo, Utah.
The 34 cities are grouped around nine urban areas, and they are Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Phoenix, Ariz.; San Antonio, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.. Networks serving all these communities would bring gigabit Internet to about 10 percent of the population, according to Susan Crawford, a visiting law professor at Harvard.
With more people considering Internet access less and less as a privilege and more a basic need or even a right, Google is taking steps to bring widespread gigabit access to the nation in the coming years.
By the end of the year, Google will announce which cities will receive fiber following their meetings, the company announced in a blog post. In the interim, Google reported that they will work with city leaders to identify challenges and map routes to Internet connectivity.
In addition, Google reported that while it’s unlikely that all 34 cities will end up as fiber cities, Google will share what they learned in their talks with each city so that others may learn from their process. The 34 cities chosen for talks were selected from about 1,000 applicants that expressed interest in 2010.