Feb 19th 2014, 18:18, by Frederic Lardinois
Google today announced that it is planning to expand Google Fiber to 34 new cities in nine metro areas, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and San Jose. The company says it has invited these cities to work with Google to “explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.”
Don’t get too excited yet, though. Google will provide updates by the end of the year about which cities will actually be getting Fiber. The company says it will work closely with city leaders on a joint planning process to map out the Fiber network in details and to “assess what unique local challenges” it might face. ”While we do want to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone,” Google writes in the announcement.
So far, Fiber, which offers both a fast Internet connection and an IP-based cable TV service, is only available in Kansas City and Provo, Utah. Google had also previously announced its plans to bring Austin, Texas, online in the near future and already started construction there.
In its current form, Google Fiber offers users a choice between a cable and Internet bundle ($120/month), unbundled gigabit internet service ($70/month) and a free Internet service at basic speed. In the first few cities Google brought online, users who signed up for the paid plans did not have to pay any construction fees, while those who signed up for the free plans had to pay the $300 (in monthly installments) to get their Internet access. Users in Kansas City also received a Nexus 7 with their cable boxes, as well as a terabyte of storage on Google Drive.
So far, Google has stuck with this model, but it’s not clear if it will switch this up as it expands into different markets.
Ever since Fiber launched in Kansas City, users have been wondering if Google planned to just keep this as an experiment, or if it was planning to roll this service out to a wider audience. Given its investments into Provo and Austin, a wider roll-out always seemed inevitable, though, and today’s announcement makes it clear that Google has big plans for Fiber.