Portland is one step closer to having laser-quick Google Fiber Internet installed throughout its city.
It’s not a done deal quite yet. City Council must approve the agreement, details over where to set up infrastructure need to be decided and Google still must assess factors like local regulations and topography.
But this is a key step to bringing the super fast Internet to Portland, one of 34 cities that Google announced as possible expansion areas for its fiber Internet project back in February. It gives Google the right to start building and lays the groundwork for a long-term plan to bring its service, which provides up to 100 times faster Internet than normal broadband, to Portland.
The company will provide an update later this year as to whether or not it will definitely be building out a fiber network in the city. The Oregonian has more details on Portland’s franchise agreement, which you can read in full here.
Currently, Google Fiber is only available to residents in Kansas City, Austin and Provo. Google is now also testing a business service in Kansas City.
Meanwhile up in Seattle, Google has shown little to no interest in setting up a fiber network. Former Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn actually tried convincing Google to bring its fiber Internet into his city back in 2010, but ultimately the Emerald City was not picked.
Seattle was also left off the list of 34 cities that Google showed interest in two months ago. A company spokesperson did not provide any specific reasons and shared this statement with us:
Building a brand fiber network takes many months of planning and construction, so we need to concentrate our efforts on just a few areas for now. These metro areas, spread all across the U.S., presumably will represent a wide variety of different construction environments and challenges, and we’re looking forward to learning from our experiences and partners in each area.
Former City of Seattle CTO Bill Schrier penned this great piece on why he believes Google Fiber will never come to Seattle.
“The ‘Seattle Process’ and a balky bureaucracy at City Hall stand squarely in the way,” he wrote.
Seattleites came close to having fiber Internet available to residential homes last year, but a deal with Gigabit Squared fell through after the private company failed to raise adequate funding and instead left the city with an unpaid bill of $52,250.
New Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has expressed interest in the possibility of a publicly-funded Internet utility — one that could mimic a model of how citizens access city light, for example. He also seems focused on coming up with new strategies to increase the number of Internet providers and improve speed at the same time, as made evident in his recent blog post that noted how Seattle needs faster and more affordable Internet options.