Google Fiber is expanding its city-by-city rollout of gigabit services this week, announcing plans to launch service in Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. and Nashville, Tenn.
The company made the announcement in a blog post today after rumors swirled because of invitations for Google events (but not specifically Google Fiber launch events) that were sent to local news organizations.
Google Fiber Inc. previously has been stealth and locally focused in its launch strategy, limiting launch events to local and regional media but still consistently grabbing gigabit headlines. Dennis Kish, who took the helm of Google Fiber last September, could shed more light on the company's plans in a press conference this afternoon. (See Is Google Good for Gigabit? and Former Qualcomm Exec to Head Google Fiber.)
One regular observer of the gigabit network race says the list of Google Fiber's next city targets is not what he expected.
"I'm kind of surprised, because the Portland folks have been making more 'we get it next' noise than the rest," says independent industry analyst Craig Settles, who hosts an online radio show called Gigabit Nation. "Raleigh and Portland have been most vocal. The other three are a surprise, and the fact that Portland's not on this list is definitely a surprise."
Google Fiber is currently available in parts of Kansas City, Austin and Provo, Utah. In December, the company would not confirm or deny rumors about deployment delays in Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte in N.C., Atlanta, San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Portland, Ore., and San Jose, Calif. Today, Google Fiber said Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose will be next.
Regardless of which cities end up getting Google, it's incumbent upon all that want to be Gigabit Cities to lay the groundwork and make their regions attractive for gigabit investment, Settles says.
"It's about the cities taking responsibility for this business of broadband," he says. "Maybe they don't own the network, but what are they doing to get coverage for their residents? Too many cities get enamored by the Google hope. They have to get the stars out of their eyes and roll up their sleeves a little bit."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading