Google Fiber Only Comes to Cities That Have Done Their Homework

So far, Google Fiber is in only few U.S cities and towns, including Kansas City, Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas. To get Google to consider your town, you have to do your homework, says one expert.

By design, Google has brought its superfast Google Fiber Gigabit Internet and cable television services to only a small number of communities in the United States as it observes how it is accepted and how it can be deployed on a larger scale over time.

The beneficiaries of those Google Fiber experiments so far include residents in Kansas City, Kan., Kansas City, Mo., Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah.

But if other communities would like to attract Google to come to their towns and cities with superfast service, they'd better do some homework to make their invitations to Google as sweet as they can make them, according to Joanne Hovis, a communications policy expert and president of CTC Technology & Energy, an independent communications and IT engineering consulting firm that works with public sector and nonprofit clients throughout the U.S.

Hovis, who is also the immediate past president of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), wrote a Feb. 11 guest post on the Google Fiber Blog about how local communities can help their own causes in attracting a fiber project in their backyards

"There are certain steps that cities and counties can take that could help attract fiber companies to build private local networks," Hovis wrote.

Those steps could include making sure that the road right of ways are built to make it as easy and as inexpensive as possible to add new utilities either underground or overhead.

"When private companies build fiber networks, one of the biggest costs is stringing physical fiber lines throughout an entire community, which requires either digging up streets (to put fiber underground) or installing new utility poles (to string fiber in the air)," wrote Hovis .

"If localities want to attract fiber providers, they can help to make this future construction much easier by instituting what’s called a 'dig once' policy. Every time the city does road maintenance or needs to dig up streets to reach water or sewer pipes, they can install fiber conduit while they're already down there.

"Then, they can make that conduit available for providers to lease and pull their fiber through. Not only is this an attractive option to providers who save the time and expense of digging, but it has the added benefit of reducing future disruption for local citizens (who probably don’t want to deal with a future road closure if it can be avoided)," wrote Hovis.

If that is prohibitive, local governments could instead "install large bundles of fiber and make that available to companies or nonprofits who want to build state-of-the-art broadband," she wrote. "In our experience, the strategy of building conduit or fiber whenever possible is the single most powerful, cost-effective step a locality can take to enable new network development."