Unfortunately, Google Fiber is only available in two U.S. cities: Kansas City and Provo. But even if you live in one of these cities, you need to reside in a qualified “fiberhood” that meets Google’s standards in order to be eligible for service. Consumers that are interested in purchasing a Google Fiber plan are encouraged to not only register during a limited sign-up period in their fiberhood, but to spread the word to their neighbors so they can meet sign-up goals. It’s a stringent process, but one that many people are willing to do if it means they can have a near-1Gbps Internet connection.
Last week, Portland’s city council approved a franchise agreement with Google that will bring the high-speed fiber lines to their city. Portland is one of just 34 cities that Google has been considering expanding their services to, but it’s unclear when this will happen. Google has been promising the city of Austin they will receive their services for over a year, but hasn’t even begun their sign-up process yet. While Portland is definitely one step closer to Google Fiber, they may have to wait a while to get it.
So, what’s taking so long to spread Google Fiber to the masses and why is it only available in two cities? Google’s response to this question is simple: It’s not that easy.
We hope to bring Google Fiber to every city on this list, but there are a few circumstances that might make it tough and even impossible to build our Fiber network in a city. The city’s checklist is the most important step towards making their community ready for the fiber-optic networks of the future. If a city doesn’t want to proceed with us and chooses not to complete their checklist, we won’t be able to bring them Google Fiber. There are also some physical characteristics of a city that might make it really complex for us to build Google Fiber. For example, underground construction might be really difficult due to bedrock or unusually hard soil. In these situations, we would share what we learned in our studies with city leaders and we hope they’d be able to use that information to explore other options for bringing super high speed broadband to their residents.
As more of our life becomes entangled in the World Wide Web, Internet speeds have never been so important. Activities, like streaming movies, storing files online, and video chatting, are using broadband technologies that are over a decade old. It’s clear that the next version of the web will require faster speeds, and if Internet companies like Facebook are claiming that high-speed connections are a human right and not a privilege, shouldn’t everyone have access to the best available service?
Consumer demand for Google Fiber is definitely there. But if only 34 cities in 9 metropolitan areas are able to have access, you may have to move if you want to experience the web at its full potential. A faster web means we have more potential to make the world a more connected place, but if consumers are left in the dark, we may never have that chance.
Are you content with your current Internet Service Provider, or do you want Google Fiber? Why or why not?