San Antonio makes a fast move for Google fiber

Open the gates. It’s Google.

Wasting no time in working through Google Fiber’s checklist, the San Antonio city council approved a master lease agreement yesterday that would give Google the right to build 40 or so fiber huts – 12 by 26 foot shelters for the electronic equipment that powers fiber-to-the-home systems – on city property at an annual lease rate of $2,250 per site.

“It will probably be difficult to overstate the importance of this vote – akin to turning on the lights in San Antonio” said councilman Ron Nirenberg. “We understand how our nation and communities across the world struggle with the digital divide, providing economic opportunities for people in the twenty-first century. This is one huge step forward for us as a city.”

A Google executive was on hand for the meeting, but wouldn’t say whether they planned to take the deal. San Antonio is one of 34 cities that made the cut in the latest round of the Google Fiber beauty contest. Besides friendly master lease terms, San Antonio has a couple other pluses: it’s a short Texas drive down I–35 from Austin, where Google already has plans to build, and there’s a municipal electric utility that owns 86% of the utility poles in town. AT&T owns the other 14%, according to a story in the San Antonio News Express.

The master lease language approved by the council isn’t quite as brief as the sample contract that Google published, but as city contracts go it’s positively terse. San Antonio’s fast and rapturous embrace is exactly the kind of response Google is trying to evoke with its fiber checklist. The bar has been set for the other 33 contenders.