Dallas, Texas, is the home of the world’s very first 7-Eleven location, if you didn’t know. It’s also the site of the John A. Gillin House, the last residence prolific architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed before his death in 1959. And if Google has its way, the “Big D” may become home to a landmark of a different sort. On Tuesday, the search giant announced that it had begun “exploring the possibility” of expanding its high-speed Fiber service to Dallas and surrounding areas.
Google says it’s coordinating with Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and other local leaders to investigate the city’s Fiber readiness using its Fiber Checklist, a bullet-point list of best municipal infrastructure practices. Jill Szuchmacher, Google Fiber’s Director of Expansion, said that over the course of the next few months, the company will survey local topography, permit requirements, existing infrastructure, and “any other factors” that might present a roadblock to construction efforts. “Building a fiber optic network through a dense and complex urban environment like Dallas is challenging,” Szuchmacher wrote in a blog post. “These discussions will help us deploy our network efficiently and responsibly.”
If history is anything to go by, Google won’t be making its decision hastily. Google only began deploying Fiber in San Antonio, the most recent metro to get the company’s high-speed service, a whole 17 months after naming it as a “potential” site. But Dallas has a number of points in its favor: a burgeoning tech sector (close to half a million workers, at last count) and one of the highest job growth rates in the country (3.9 percent, or nearly double the national rate of 2 percent). “That points to there being a lot of entrepreneurs and innovators that could do a lot with high-speed internet,” Szuchamacher told the Dallas News. “It’s our fervent hope that we can soon be open for business in the city.”
If Google chooses to expand Fiber, it’ll face stiff competition. AT&T plans to expand the reach of its 1 Gbps Gigapower internet service tier to a greater number of customers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and last month, it pledged to double the availability of GigaPower in southern Dallas. That may influence Fiber’s pricing in Dallas, should the service materialize; in Austin, subscriptions range from $50 a month for 100 Mbps to $130 a month for 1 Gbps.
Szuchamacher, for her part, seemed optimistic. “We look forward to working with Dallas’s leaders as we explore bringing Fiber to their city,” she said. “We’ll keep residents updated as we approach our decision.”
Google’s Fiber service, which now operates in Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah, has plans to expand ambitiously in the coming years — future Fiber sites include Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and Salt Lake City, Tennessee. Along the way, existing customers have seen new add-ons and features debut: most recently, Google launched Fiber Phone, a $10-a-month feature which lets Fiber subscribers connect multiple phones and numbers to a single, cloud-based phone number with voicemail transcription, automatic call screening, and more. And in an over-the-air update in June, Google added Cast support to the set-top box hardware that powers its Fiber TV cable subscription add-on.