Mayors of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe Trying to Score Google Fiber

Google announced Wednesday that Phoenix is one of nine metro areas in the United States where the company would like to bring Google Fiber, its Internet service advertised as being "100 times faster than today's basic broadband."

Google's announcement explained that it needs a lot of cooperation from the cities in order to make Google Fiber a reality in those areas, and the mayors of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe each made it clear that they want Google Fiber in their cities.

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"We'll provide a checklist of things for these cities to complete to help make their area ready for fiber," Google's announcement said. "We're asking cities to provide us with information that can speed up planning and construction (e.g. maps of poles, conduit, existing water, gas, and electricity lines). We also ask that they streamline processes (e.g. permitting procedures and access to local infrastructure) to make it easier for a construction process of this scale to move quickly."

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell all made it fairly clear in a joint press conference that they were going to facilitate this.

Andrew Silvestri, a public policy manager for Google, said the other factor that could prevent Google Fiber from being an option for the cities is an inability to complete the city-wide network of fiber-optic cables, for whatever logistical reasons.

Mayor Lane said Scottsdale's going to work with Google "as best as we possibly can," and he cited this as a good time to "get government out of the way" when necessary.

Mayor Stanton said he's confident they'll succeed in getting Google Fiber to Phoenix.

According to Google's announcement, they should know by the end of the year which cities will be getting Fiber. Then, they have to get to building. In Kansas City -- one of two cities with current Google Fiber service -- it took two years to complete the network, Silvestri said.

The mayors said Google would not be receiving direct subsidies for this project, but acknowledged there are going to be costs involved for the cities.

Stanton said the cost is the "time and talent" of city workers instead of subsidies to help Google plan and execute the project, and Stanton and Lane both said the costs would be on-par with the costs of any private company that plans to build infrastructure in their city.

Google advertises Fiber as have one gigabit per second speed for both download and upload -- "100 times faster than today's basic broadband," the company claims.

Even Cox's best Internet package advertises download speeds of 150 megabits per second (or, about one-sixth the speed of Google Fiber) for $100 a month.

In Kansas City, gigabit Internet plus Google's TV service costs $120 per month. For just the gigabit Internet, it's $70 per month, and for a more basic Internet connection of 5 megabits per second download, and 1 megabit per second upload, it's free for "at least" seven years, provided the person pays a one-time $300 "construction fee."

The other cities Google is planning to bring Fiber to are Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Atlanta, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Portland. The company already is planning to bring Google Fiber to Austin, Texas, as well.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley