Google Fiber could come to Phoenix

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by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

Video report by Jared Dillingham

Posted on February 19, 2014 at 9:49 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 21 at 2:14 PM

Google aims to provide broadband in 34 more cities

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Google is planning to offer high-speed Internet service in 34 more cities scattered across eight states in the company's boldest challenge yet to cable and telecommunications providers.

The ambitious expansion announced Wednesday targets Arizona, California, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Utah. The markets span some of the largest cities in the U.S. They include: Atlanta, San Jose, Calif., Phoenix; San Antonio; Portland, Ore. and Salt Lake City. The company also hopes to bring the Internet service, called "Google Fiber," to its hometown of Mountain View, Calif.

The blueprint is tentative because Google Inc. needs to work out logistics with government leaders in the communities where it hopes to build the networks needed to deliver its service. The company hopes to provide updates by the end of the year.

The mayors of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe say no tax dollars will go toward the application process, but they have promised to have city staff and resources available to help Google figure out what fiber optic construction would entail.

"To make sure this is the most effective efficient application for Google as possible," Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said.

"And so they know if they make the investment, they're not going to be caught in red tape or bureaucratic snafus," added Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

Google did not address why only three local cities were chosen. Notably, Mesa, Glendale, Chandler and others were left out.

"I don't want to speak for them, but I'm guessing their plan is not stop there, but to begin there," Stanton said.

The plans are the clearest sign yet that Google, already the Internet's most powerful Internet company, intends to become a bigger player in providing access to the Internet, too.

Google's ownership of some the Internet's most lucrative advertising networks and heavily trafficked services such its YouTube video site gives the company a powerful incentive to make it more affordable and enjoyable to spend time online. The company is hoping it can make more money from ads and other services if faster connections and a proliferation of computing devices can make the Internet even more addictive than it already is for tens of millions of people.

With Google Fiber, people can surf the Internet at a speed of one gigabit per second, up to 100 times faster than existing broadband services. Prices for the service are comparable or below what most households already pay.

Launched as an experimental project in 2010, Google Fiber is only available in three cities so far: Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo. and Provo, Utah. It's coming to Austin, Texas sometime this year.

The service charges about $70 per month for just high-speed Internet service in the two Kansas City markets. A package that bundles the Internet service with more than 100 high-definition television channels costs about $120 per month.

Google's expansion would provide more competition to existing broadband carriers, including cable giant Comcast Corp., which last week announced plans to buy another major Internet service provider in Time Warner Cable Inc. Google says the announcement of its expansion isn't tied to Comcast's proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable, a deal already facing resistance from consumer rights groups worried that the combination will drive up prices for broadband cable TV.

Exploring new cities for Google Fiber

Faster Internet key to city's 'Innovation and infrastructure,' Stanton Says

If Google realizes its goal, the company will provide high-speed Internet service in these cities: Phoenix; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Tempe, Ariz.; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Sunnyvale, Calif.; Mountain View, Calif.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Atlanta; Avondale Estates, Ga.; Brookhaven, Ga.; College Park, Ga.; Decatur, Ga.; East Point, Ga.; Hapeville, Ga.; Sandy Springs, Ga.; Smyrna, Ga.; Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Carrboro, Cary, N.C.; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Durham, N.C.; Garner, N.C.; Morrisville, N.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Beaverton, Ore.; Hillsboro, Ore.; Gresham, Ore.' Lake Oswego, Ore; Tigard, Ore.; San Antonio; and Salt Lake City.

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