Google may bring high-speed Internet to five South Bay cities

Google is in talks to bring fiber-optic Internet connections to five South Bay cities.
February 19, 2014 7:40:45 PM PST
Google is in talks to bring fiber-optic Internet connections to five South Bay cities. The speed allows users to download a movie in less than two minutes.

Besides the fiber-optic offer, Google wants to install a new downtown WiFi network to replace one they installed in Mountain View seven years ago.

Google is considering to get the fiber-optic Internet service. It would provide speed of one gigabit per second, or roughly 100 times faster than typical broadband speed. Unlike other fiber-optic networks, Google's plan is to bring fiber right into the house.

Other systems use slower copper wire to connect to homes, creating a choke point that slows down speed.

"That obviously is a benefit to our residents, but also to our businesses and our start-up's and small companies to be able to access the internet at that speed. It will give them a competitive advantage over their peers in other parts of the country," Mountain View City Manager Dan Rich said.

Besides Mountain View, which is Google's headquarters city, the other four are Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose.

Discussions are at the early stage. Each city must consider whether it wants to dig up streets to bury the fiber-optic cables.

In Sunnyvale, there are plans underway to put in an underground recycled water line for Apple's new headquarters complex in Cupertino and for other users. The fiber line could be installed at the same time.

Residents may also benefit from new price competition. Google is charging $70 per month for Internet in three cities where the service is already operating.

"Competition in this space is obviously a good thing and with particularly Comcast's recent announcement of their merger, giving our residents options as to what they can do is obviously to be to their benefit," Mayor Jim Griffith said.

"My current modem speed is more than enough, but I don't have, apart from Comcast, there are no other good options," Sunnyvale cable Internet subscriber Nilesh Dalvi said.

And what will they do with that fiber speed?

"Ah, probably use the Internet a lot more. And maybe stream Netflix a little more. I'm not sure, but I would be happy if it came by," Sunnyvale resident Ritu Kiragi said.


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