Office Hours

Google moving closer to its fiber network announcements

The “Hey Google, Pick Spokane”  gathering poses for a picture in Riverfront Park on Wednesday. (Colin Mulvany)
The “Hey Google, Pick Spokane” gathering poses for a picture in Riverfront Park on Wednesday. (Colin Mulvany)

Did Spokane get anywhere near being chosen by Google in its much-publicized plan to deploy fiber networks in some lucky metros?

We wondered about that, so we contacted the Mountain View company and asked about Spokane's chances of being one of the locations chosen. (Photo shows a rally organized by the Spokane Association of Pro-Fiberians.)

The short answer:  the decision hasn't been made yet and Google intends to make the choice by the end of 2010. More than 1,100 cities made appeals -- some silly, some highly sophisticated -- to be part of the company's plan to roll out the first phase of an ultra-high speed network across parts of the country.

As Google spokesman Dan Martin noted, the company will offer the option for one or a number of sites, with a population target of between 50,000 and 500,000.

That means it could be in just one city. Or in several cities. If it does involve several cities, it might be just a portion. In an email, Martin wrote: "... We might select a large city, but only build in a small neighborhood."

He also said  the company so far has identified several communities “that we think might be a good fit for our project. But we’re not yet prepared to announce anything more at this time.”

The benefit, for Google, is learning how to best deploy the fiber network on a broader scale; the first locations will be beta sites, in effect. The service will not be free, Martin noted. Customers will be facing a pricing system more or less competitive with other providers.

For more Google explanations on the criteria, Martin sent along this link:

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Tom Sowa
Tom Sowa covers technology, retail and economic development and writes the Office Hours blog.




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