Do you live in one of the 4 cities Google’s about to light up with Fiber?

Google Fiber Expansion 2015
Late last year, Google promised details on expansion plans for its powerful Gigabit Internet build-out, even as it was just beginning to break ground in Austin, TX. Today, the company made good on that promise, announcing the expansion of Google Fiber into “18 new cities,” though the confirmed build-out really only expands across four major metro areas, including Atlanta, GA, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC, and Nashville, TN. Google also teased five other cities as candidates for exploration, including San Antonio, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and DT’s very own Portland, OR.

Google stated that construction in the latest confirmed cities will begin once mapping has been laid out, which will likely take place in a few months. This accelerates Google Fiber’s progress from what once was a tepid trickle, to something more like a steady (if not wholly reliable) stream.

The announcement is a timely one considering the current state of broadband in the U.S., which has long been held captive by major multi-system operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable. A few massive conglomerates dictate Internet speed limits, and the infrastructure that provides them. Meanwhile, as the GOP argues that the FCC’s new definition of standard broadband speeds set at 25Mbps download and 3Mbps up is unnecessary, Google (and plenty of others) respectfully disagrees.

In a conference call about Google Fiber’s latest expansion plans today, Google Fiber’s Dennis Kish noted that his time overseas in Singapore and Amsterdam lead to his decision to join Google Fiber. Kish recalled that both cities offered faster Internet than he could find in the U.S., both before and after his time abroad. In fact, as Kish remarked, though the U.S. may be a titan when it comes to technological innovation, the country resides at a lowly number 14 when it comes to world broadband rankings.

Google continues to claim emphatically that Fiber’s Gigabit Internet, which boasts wired speeds of up to 100 times faster than the U.S. average (and Wi-Fi speeds at about a third to half that rate) is good for everyone: consumers, businesses, and Google itself. That business demographic is where Fiber has shined brightest so far. Kish cited early research from the Fiber to the Home Council that claims the availability of Gigabit Internet in 14 cities (many of which comes from other providers) has created $1.4 billion in additional GDP revenue.

google fiber metro areas 2015

Kish pointed to other consumer and business benefits, including higher engagement with companies that are doing business over the web, as well as what Google calls the “rising tide” effect of bandwidth abundance: the more places Gigabit speeds are available, the more innovation and creativity will arise around what the Internet could become in the near future. Kish and Google firmly believe that “the next chapter of the web is going to be written on Gigabit speeds.”

The appeal of Google Fiber’s companion Fiber TV service is also an undeniably attractive factor as well. The service offers a veritable smorgasbord of HDTV channels, stellar picture quality, and next-gen networking equipment that helps to make sure every corner of a home gets outstanding TV and Wi-Fi service, all for a fairly reasonable price.

Where’s my Fiber?

So what does it take to bring Fiber to your town? That’s a tough question that we put directly to Kish, and not surprisingly, he did not give a definitive answer. While Google’s nebulous list of tasks required to court the tech giant’s new gift of The Gig to your city is reportedly laid out on the Fiber website, it’s hard to nail down exactly what it takes.

Apparently, it helps to be a South Easterner. Or, perhaps more to the point, South Easterners are good at getting things done. Four out of Google’s soon-to-be seven Fiber cities are now located in a cluster in the South Eastern US. Kish did offer a few broad reasons for Google’s latest destination cities on the Fiber Train: “Many have emerging startup scenes, growing small business communities, and research, healthcare, and technology industries,” Kish said. But that’s just part of the equation.

Fiber Network+ box, TV Box, and remote
Fiber Network+ box, TV box, and remote Ryan Waniata/Digital Trends

As Kish explained, each time Fiber moves into a new city, the company has to lay “thousands of miles” of Fiber optic cable. How fast that happens, and how easily it is to get done, depends on multiple factors, including local infrastructure grids and layouts, third party builders and construction workers, and the streamlining of permit processes. And while Kish didn’t mention it specifically, tax incentives likely play a role as well.

With Portland listed as an exploratory city, we at Digital Trends admittedly have a dog in this fight to attract Google Fiber. We asked Kish directly why the latest South Eastern cities were chosen over other contenders, and he had no real answer. He did say the additional cities have made “great progress,” as well as promising that more cities will be announced later this year.

For now, if you live in one of the 5 potential cites, today is either a day to celebrate hope, or lament yet another disappointment. But make no mistake, one way or another, the Gig is coming. Just what that will mean to the somewhat precarious future of the Web is, for now, anyone’s guess. But there’s no doubt that much of the country is screaming for more choices when it comes to Internet providers. And most of us would love to be a part of Google Fiber’s new rising tide.

Mobile

5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Computing

The Asus ZenBook 13 offers more value and performance than Apple's MacBook Air

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX333 is the latest in that company's excellent "budget" laptop line, and it looks and feels better than ever. How does it compare to Apple's latest MacBook Air?
Computing

AMD Radeon VII will support DLSS-like upscaling developed by Microsoft

AMD's Radeon VII has shown promise with early tests of an open DLSS-like technology developed by Microsoft called DirectML. It would provide similar upscale features, but none of the locks on hardware choice.
Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Computing

Is AMD's Navi back on track for 2019? Here's everything you need to know

With a reported launch in 2019, AMD is focusing on the mid-range market with its next-generation Navi GPU. Billed as a successor to Polaris, Navi promises to deliver better performance to consoles, like Sony's PlayStation 5.
Computing

Cortana wants to be friends with Alexa and Google Assistant

Microsoft no longer wants to compete against Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant in the digital assistant space. Instead, it wants to transform Cortana into a skill that can be integrated into other digital assistants.
Computing

Microsoft leans on A.I. to resume safe delivery of Windows 10 Update

Microsoft is leaning on artificial intelligence as it resumes the automatic rollout of the Windows 10 October 2018 Update. You should start seeing the update soon now that Microsoft has resolved problems with the initial software.
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

It's not all free money. Here's what to know before you try to mine Bitcoin

Mining Bitcoin today is harder than it used to be, but if you have enough time, money, and cheap electricity, you can still turn a profit. Here's how to get started mining Bitcoin at home and in the cloud.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. This list of the best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!