Gigabit Cities

Gigabites: Tempe Tees Up for Google Gig

In this week's Gigabit Roundup, the Tempe, Arizona City Council votes unanimously to give Google permission to bring its gigabit service to town. Plus, the Midwest gets a gigabit jolt with new deployment plans in Kansas, North Dakota and more.

  • Hoping to be one of Google Fiber Inc. 's next gigabit cities, Tempe is laying the groundwork for the company to bring its broadband services to the southwestern town. The City Council voted unanimously to allow Google to lay fiber in Tempe and would like to sign a deal with the service provider to join its list of gigabit sites. However, the plan to attract Google isn't without its challenges. So far, Google hasn't agreed to anything, and local gigabit provider Cox Communications Inc. may have a legal argument against Tempe offering incentives to a competitor.

    In a statement reported by Fox 10 in Phoenix, a Cox spokesperson said: "It's unfortunate that the Tempe City Council is willing to favor a new entrant into the market, and in doing so appears to have violated federal and state law. The waivers granted by the City also give Google Fiber a free pass on obligations that affect public safety; such as emergency alert messaging and protection of subscriber privacy."

  • Everything may be "up to date in Kansas City," but the City of Pittsburg in Kansas wants to give its neighbor a run for its money. Pittsburg recently approved a franchise and service agreement with local provider Craw-Kan Telephone to begin laying fiber for gigabit broadband service. Construction is expected to begin shortly and take about 90 days. Gigabit service should be available to initial customers in late 2015, with Craw-Kan reaching nearly 1,500 homes and businesses in 2016.

  • Having already announced its gigabit-capable network in Montana in April, Nemont Telephone Cooperative went on to launch gigabit service in Williston, North Dakota this week. According to Nemont, anyone served by its fiber network in the area can sign up for gigabit service. The company has deployed fiber in the area since 2007, covering 14,000 square miles of territory.

  • In case you missed it, both Videotron Ltd. , based in Montreal, Canada, and EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga, Tennessee had big gigabit news this week. Videotron announced it will roll out gigabit service in the greater Montreal region, and that it plans to upgrade its HFC network to DOCSIS 3.1 to support higher speeds in 2016. EPB meanwhile said it will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 10 Gbits/s within a year. The municipal utility company already powers one of the most successful gigabit services in the country and says it has started testing Next-Generation PON (NG-PON) for further speed upgrades. (See Videotron Catches Gigabit Fever and EPB: 10Gbit/s Service Feasible Within a Year.)

    — Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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