As it stands right now, Google plans to roll out their Google Fiber services to metropolitan areas in 3 cities amounting to about 4.5 million people. Those cities, Kansas City (MO & KS), Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah are all going to be getting Google Fiber, one way or another. But there is clearly an appetite for Google Fiber in other places in the country where ISPs are absolutely horrendous and hinder innovation, education and entertainment. With Google’s 1 Gbps+ fiber network, users could be capable of accomplishing things that they could have never imagined with their current internet connections. It could also enable people to start their own web-based businesses from their home and could bring an entirely new wave of new technologies and business purely because of the increased access to fast internet.
So, it comes as no surprise that Google wants to expand the availability of Google Fiber. The demand for Google Fiber among geeks is beyond insatiable. I don’t think that there is a geek anywhere in the US that would not jump at the chance to have 1 Gbps fiber internet. And that may, in fact, impact where the tech jobs may be in the future. Because, if fast internet is readily available in these areas, it makes it much more attractive for tech geeks to move there and for tech startups to start up there. With that, Google announced yesterday that they are looking at 9 new metropolitan areas to bring Google Fiber to in addition to the currently planned cities. The green cities are the cities that are already planned and the red cities are the new potential locations.
As you can see, the major metropolitan areas that they are planning to add are Atlanta (6 million), Phoenix (4.3 million), San Jose (and the rest of Silicon Valley about 4 million), Portland (2.3 million), Charlotte (2.3 million) San Antonio (2.2 million), Raleigh-Durham (2 million), Salt Lake City (plus Provo which is already served is 2 million), Nashville (1.7 million). If you look at the overall metropolitan populations of these areas in total, Google is preparing to make a huge undertaking if they actually roll out in all of these areas. They would be going from serving a potential custom base of 4.5 million adding 26.3 million, a 5x increase and nearly 10% of the US population at a total potential coverage of 30.8 million people. You can also see the smaller cities that Google plans to include that are part of the larger cities’ metropolitan areas.
I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine that lives in San Jose complaining about how ridiculous the state of broadband was in the United States. Well, by the looks of it the ISP gods have been listening to him and have given him and his city a possible reprieve from Comcast’s domination. The truth is that I think in higher tech areas like San Jose and Raleigh-Durham we could actually see Fiberhoods getting more real estate value over other areas without. I know I would consider paying more for a house if I knew it had Google Fiber rather than Time Warner Cable or Comcast. In a place like Silicon Valley, this would suck for people already struggling with the ridiculous price of real estate, but it could still result in improved real estate values in the places that aren’t as outrageously priced as Silicon Valley.