Google has announced that Google Fiber may be expanded to three new cities: San Diego and Irvine in California, and Louisville, Kentucky. If each of these cities has a successful result in the initial phase, which involves analyzing their existing infrastructure and housing density along with experts from Google, they may become the newest cities to get the lightning-fast Google Fiber web speeds.
According to the Google Fiber Blog, Google has invited the three cities to start a process of planning the deployment of Google’s gigabit internet service, Google Fiber, for their residents and businesses.
“It’s clear that Irvine, Louisville and San Diego have strong leaders at city hall, who are passionate about bringing fiber to their communities and making the Internet more accessible for everyone. From Code Louisville to San Diego’s startup scene to Irvine’s collaborative workplaces, these cities are growing tech hubs with entrepreneurial cultures—great places to show us what’s possible with gigabit speeds.”
How fast is gigabit internet? The average download speed in the U.S. is 18.2 Mbps (megabits per second). One-gigabit internet runs at about 125 Mbps. Fastmetrics gives some internet speed examples on its website. A two-hour HD movie that would take about 32 minutes to download at the rate of 20 Mbps would download in just 25 seconds at the one-gigabit speed of Google Fiber.
The process of determining the feasibility of such a project for a new city could take about a year to complete. Cities want gigabit internet because it’s a boost for the business climate, potentially lowering the cost of doing business for existing companies, and attracting new companies to the municipalities that have Google Fiber or other gigabit internet service. Google Fiber generally is less expensive, about $70 per month, than the average cost that people now pay for broadband internet service.
A Wall Street Journal Tech Blog article explains that the expansion of Google Fiber into a new area is a huge, costly undertaking.
“Google Fiber is expensive; analysts estimate it costs more than $500 per home. The company has to dig up roads to bury fiber-optic cable, or string it to utility poles, then hire marketers to woo customers. Every time Fiber unveils a new city, Wall Street analysts groan and estimate the hit to Google’s profit margins.”
Why does Google want to install fiber internet in American cities? The company wants to get more people connected to the internet at faster speeds in order to get more revenue from increased clicks on the ads that appear on websites, on Google’s own search results pages, and on Google’s YouTube platform.
The New York Times reports that Google Fiber is now operational in Kansas City, Kansas; Kansas City, Missouri; Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas. Twelve metropolitan areas nationwide are now either connected or in the exploratory phase with Google Fiber. The two new cities in Southern California and one in Kentucky will bring that total to 15. If all goes well, Google Fiber will bring lightning-fast internet to the people of San Diego, Irvine, and Louisville.
[Image from Google Fiber Blog]