Google is not expected to announce which of the 34 cities it’s evaluating will get its Google Fiber service until the end of the year, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t going on behind the scenes. All of the cities met the May 1 deadline for completing Google Fiber’s checklist, but there are still more details. A lot recent work involves Google’s fiber huts, structures that support 20,000 homes and measure approximately 12 feet wide, 28 feet long, and nine feet tall. Here’s a look, from West to East, at some of the developments in the nine metro areas being considered for the Gigabit service.
Portland has reached a tentative franchise deal with Google, with the City Council set to vote on it June 11, according to Oregon Live. The City’s website says that the Office for Community Technology has recommended the Council approve an ordinance authorizing a network hut license agreement with Google Fiber, with a second reading slated for June 4. Under the agreement, Google Fiber will pay $3 per foot plus a 3% inflation factor annually for any city parcels used as a site. Google is advertising a couple Fiber jobs in Portland, including City Manager (the point person for Google Fiber in the market) and Community Impact Manager (works with community and stakeholders). As is the case in every potential Google Fiber city, the company cautions that a job listing doesn’t guarantee that the service will launch. “We’re exploring interest and talent for the opportunity in advance,” Google said.
The City Council is slated to review a couple actions related to the Google Fiber project at its June 10 meeting, although it could defer the matters as it has done several other times over the past month. On the agenda: a resolution authorizing the City manager to execute a master Network Hut License Agreement with Google and to execute the terms for those sites following Council approval. The Council also needs to accept a status report on efforts to submit info requested by Google Fiber.
Salt Lake City
At the City Council’s April 15 work session, it was briefed on Salt Lake’s Google Fiber feasibility study. Like the other potential launch sites, it met the May 1 deadline for completing Google’s checklist. There were some questions raised during the session about the utility boxes and residents’ concerns about them. “I just worry about us adding provider after provider and having such a greater and greater impact on the public way. The clutter is going to reach and has reached critical mass in some places where you have utility boxes all over the place,” said Council vice chair Luke Garrott.
City Manager and Community Impact Manger positions have been posted, just like they were in Portland with the same caveat that Google Fiber might not be coming to the city. Phoenix won’t have to wait for Google for a superfast Internet service, however. Phoenix is one of three initial cities where Cox plans to launch Gigabit service.
In March, the City Council approved a Master Lease Agreement with Google Fiber for the use of city-owned property for the installation of equipment shelters. Some 40 shelters are needed throughout the city, with annual rent possibly reaching $90,000, according to minutes from the meeting. Mark Strama of Google Fiber TX told the Council that next steps include data collection and engineering studies. One Council member requested a San Antonio-themed Google homepage if/when the service launches.
Last week, the Metro Council approved an agreement to let Google Fiber use city property for its fiber huts. “There could be no city in the country that would welcome them more than Nashville will,” Councilman Ronnie Steine said according to The Tennessean. Under the terms of the agreement, Google agrees to pay $1.60 per square foot, per year, for each property (rent is subject to an annual 3% escalation factor). The agreement is not a franchise and gives Google no right to erect anything in the public right of way—meaning, Google Fiber will still have to go through several hoops before construction starts.
As with a few of the other cities under consideration, Google Fiber has job listings for a City Manager and Community Impact Manager. Atlanta is among the cities tackling Google’s fiber huts. At a meeting last week, the City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the city to consider allowing Google Fiber to occupy and use various city-owned sites for the structures. Google Fiber must receive approval for each site term.
Charlotte has actually posted a potential list of Google Fiber hut locations. It also has opened up an interesting dialog with residents about what they think the service could bring Charlotte. Many respondents said they hoped it would bring prices down. Read more replies here. The online platform is new, and is designed to improve the way residents and local government connect and share ideas.
Last week, Raleigh-Durham approved a lease agreement for Google’s Fiber huts. If Google Fiber comes to Raleigh, the proposed hut locations will require City Council approval through an expedited process. Additionally, the agreement requires the City to extend the same rights to other providers of Internet access and multichannel video programming services.