February 19th, 2014
Break out the Gigabit IPA: Google Fiber eyes Portland metro region as part of expansion plans
I know, I know. Four years ago, in breathless anticipation, we waited for Google to reveal the city they had selected to be part of their fledgling Google Fiber program. We had wooed them. We had brewed a namesake beer—Gigabit IPA. Surely Portland would be the leading contender for the service.
And then? Kansas City? WTF? I guess they liked barbecue more than beer.
Well, guess what, gentle reader? The passage of time heals all wounds. And so I’d like you forget those initial scars and get ready to be happy again. Google is considering Portland as an expansion city for Google Fiber. What’s more, they’re considering a good chunk of the metro area, as well, including Beaverton, Gresham, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, and Tigard.
We’re going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.
According to Mike Rogoway at The Oregonian, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales is all for it.
Google’s interest could redeem more than a decade of effort by Portland civic leaders who sought, without result, to spur interest in better broadband and video alternatives in the city. On multiple occasions dating as far back as the dot-com era, companies have floated plans to bring faster Web connections or better TV service.
None materialized, but Mayor Hales said Google’s interest is a genuine breakthrough.
“I feel like this really is a natural fit for who Portland is,” he said. “Portland has a long history of being, literally, on the cutting edge of how to deal with technology as a city.”
And local entrepreneurs are liking the idea, as well.
"This is a major enabler of what you need to work today but esp. what you need to work tomorrow." @puppetmasterd on Google Fiber in Portland
— Mike Rogoway (@rogoway) February 19, 2014