Google is exploring bringing its Google Fiber high-speed Internet service to three more cities, two of them in California and one in Kentucky.
On Sept. 10, the company announced that it began working with city officials in San Diego; Irvine, Calif.; and Louisville, Ky., to explore bringing its gigabit speed Internet service to their communities.
Over the next few months, Google will engage in a joint planning process with city planners to more fully understand the factors that could affect the delivery of the service in the three metro areas, Jill Szuchmacher, director of Google's Fiber Expansion group said in a blog post.
Among the factors that Google will consider are local topography, housing density and existing infrastructure. The cities, for their part, will work on providing Google with a complete checklist of items, such as a map of underground and overhead utility lines, that Google would require to prepare for a large-scale Fiber build-out, Szuchmacher said.
The planning process is similar to what Google has engaged in when rolling out its Fiber network in other cities over the past two years. In each case, Google has worked with the cities to understand how much new infrastructure it would have to deploy, how much digging or tunneling work may be required to lay down the fiber, and how much reconfiguration of existing communication and utility lines would be required.
Google has previously noted that it plans on using existing utility poles and underground conduits to lay the thousands of miles of cable required to deliver its Fiber service to large urban communities.
"We've seen that this planning process is helpful, both for Google Fiber and city officials," Szuchmacher noted in her blog post. "Working together, we can take a massive infrastructure project and break it into manageable pieces."
After the initial assessment, Google will then decide on the viability of bringing Fiber to the three new metro areas, she said. "Every city is different and will move on a unique timeline, so we'll keep in touch with residents about our progress along the way."
Regardless of whether Google decides to move ahead with its plans, the process still gives cities a clear idea of what to expect when any gigabit provider comes to their areas, Szuchmacher said.
Google's Fiber service promises performance that is 100 times faster than the Internet services available from most service providers currently. Rates average around $60 to $70 per month for just Internet service and around $120 to $130 for high-speed Internet and TV.
Google started off with Fiber projects in Provo, Utah; Kansas City; and Austin, Texas, and has been gradually expanding the service to other cities and regions over the past year.
In January, Google announced plans to launch Fiber in 18 cities across four major metro areas in the Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Nashville, Tenn. In total, the company is currently working with planners in 34 cities across nine metro areas in the United States to bring Fiber to their communities.
The uptake of Google's Fiber service has been robust in most of the areas where it is currently available. One example is Kansas City, where research by analyst firm Bernstein Research showed 83 percent of residents in the more affluent areas of the city signing up for the service.
Google itself maintains that its Fiber plans are being driven by the interest from city officials around the United States who see gigabit Internet as vital to spark innovation and economic growth.