Google Fiber eyes Chicago and LA

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Fiber explores expansion to Chicago, LA.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The prospect of blindingly fast internet speeds for Chicago took a step toward reality on Tuesday as Google invited the city to consider adding the company’s fiber service. Google Fiber said Tuesday that it’s considering offering its high-speed Internet and cable TV service in Chicago and Los Angeles, by far the biggest markets the company has considered to date.In a company blog post, Jill Szuchmacher, director of Google Fiber expansion, said the company will work with city leaders to collect information and study factors that could affect construction of such a network.Alphabet Inc. said it would explore adding its super-fast Internet service to Los Angeles, the largest city yet in the tech giant’s nascent bid to build a network of hyper-connected urban centers called Google Fiber.

Meanwhile, Google Fiber continues to make plans to serve Portland, hiring a handful of local employees and beginning the process for winning land-use approval to build its network. The company says its service offers speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second and is already live in Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. “While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to bring Fiber to Chicago and L.A., this is a big step for these cities and their leaders,” Szuchmacher said in the post. “In Chicago, fiber Internet will help bolster a fast-growing startup scene by fueling incubators like 1871, venture capital funds like Chicago Ventures and hundreds of small businesses,” she said. “With the help of the city’s leadership, Internet speeds can help attract more tech talent and add to the 40,000 tech jobs that exist across the Windy City.” L.A. city officials have been calling on Internet providers to upgrade their speeds to match some of the leading cities for connectivity such as Seoul and Tokyo. As we’ve explored bringing Fiber to other metros across the U.S., we’ve worked to refine our checklist and prepare for building our network in different places.

It seemed unlikely that Google would invest the billions of dollars required to gain a foothold in regional markets controlled by Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, Verizon CenturyLink and other established telecom companies. It currently serves just three markets – Kansas City, Austin and Provo – but it’s in the process of opening up service in two cities in North Carolina, Atlanta, Nashville, San Antonio and Salt Lake City. Eleven other markets are candidates for expansion, and the addition of Los Angeles and Chicago on Tuesday brings the nation’s second- and third-largest cities to the list. The service includes Internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second, which represents about 40 times faster uploading speeds and 100 times quicker downloading speeds than the typical service used by Angelenos, according to network testing company Ookla. Google Fiber is now a division of Google parent company Alphabet whose ambitions stretch well beyond Google’s dominant search and advertising business to new big bets from smart devices for the home to wearable devices.

L.A. recently put out a bid for companies to introduce gigabit Internet access, offering up to $1 billion in incentives, including expedited permitting and a guarantee to become a customer. Those prices are higher Google has a long checklist of cities who want its service, requiring them to adopt a set regulatory framework and give the company a great deal of latitude in deciding which neighborhoods to serve. She could not estimate how long such a project would take to complete or say whether the service would be introduced in phases to different neighborhoods. “Having high-speed, available, and affordable access to the Internet is important to virtually everybody across the world,” the mayor said in a statement. “We expect that Google Fiber’s entrance into Los Angeles, their largest market to date, will benefit everyone here in the city.” Any decision appears weeks away, so even if Google decides to proceed it will be many months — and perhaps more than a year — before it serves any Portland neighborhoods.

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