The announcement from Mountain View this morning is that Google’s high-speed broadband service - “Google Fiber” - is looking to expand to 34 new cities in 9 metro areas from Atlanta to Portland, via Nashville and Salt Lake City.
Coincidentally in the wake of last month’s net neutrality ruling, and the ongoing battle to keep the internet open, additional internet options are great news for consumers and innovators across the country. The internet already has the power to solve real problems and change communities for the better -- imagine what more can be done in medicine, education and business when internet access, cost, and speed are no longer issues.
The benefits of fast internet access -- economic growth and job creation -- are borne out in the data. A recent study found that “a 10 percentage-point increase in broadband penetration raises annual per-capita growth by 0.9-1.5 percentage points” -- for U.S. GDP, 1% is greater than $150 billion. Then, job creation follows GDP growth, as well as stemming directly from the construction of networks.
Already in Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas), Provo (Utah), and Austin (Texas), the presence of Google Fiber has incubated nascent innovation, and pushed incumbent broadband providers to improve performance and lowered their price.
Google plans to “work side-by-side with city leaders” in 34 new cities chosen for their diversity and their potential to do great things with Fiber. These cities were also tapped based on the work already being done to bring faster Internet speeds and the latest technologies to residents.
Hundreds of mayors across the nation stated that abundant high-speed internet access is essential for sparking innovation, driving economic growth, and improving education. Portland, Nashville and dozens of others have made high-speed broadband a key pillar of their city plans. And Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, declared in June that every school should have access to gigabit speeds by 2020.
Google already has a community connections program in Kansas City where the city designated certain institutions -- like schools -- and Google connected them for free. In all the talk about E-rate reform, we believe in the power of universal broadband access in schools and we can only hope that Google expands their program from Kansas city to work with schools in every Fiber-connected city.
Here’s the full list of states and cities:
- Arizona: Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe
- California: San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto
- Georgia: Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, Smyrna
- North Carolina: Charlotte, Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville, Raleigh
- Oregon: Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego, Tigard
- Tennessee: Nashville-Davidson Texas: San Antonio Utah: Salt Lake City
The successful cities should be confirmed by the end of the year. Have more questions? Check out the FAQs here.
Image from Google