Decision time nears for Google Fiber expansion

7 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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With Austin done and dusted, the next big decision point on Google’s fiber-to-the-home odyssey is: which cities will make the short list for the next round of builds? Back in May, after the deadline had passed for 34 cities to submit their responses to Google’s fiber ready checklist, the company said “We still plan to announce which cities will get Google Fiber by the end of the year“.

Well, it’s the end of the year. Nearly. There have been hints, but no announcements. The most recent speculation comes from Nashville, where Google is asking the state of Tennessee for franchise authority to provide Internet and video services

Google Fiber intends to begin to offer video service for purchase or provide new broadband Internet service in accordance with [the Tennessee Competitive Cable and Video Services Act] in each of the municipalities and unincorporated areas within counties listed in Exhibit A within twenty-four (24) months of the date of issuance of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority…Google Fiber, and its parent company, Google Fiber Inc., have engaged in an extensive process to evaluate the feasibility of deploying services in the service areas listed in Exhibit A and reasonably conclude that Google Fiber will be able to deploy services to those service areas within the timeframe required by…the Act.

It’s not a done deal, though. According to a story by Jamie McGee in the Nashville Tennessean

“There’s still a lot of work to do beyond this agreement, but we hope to provide an update about whether we can bring Fiber to Nashville by the end of the year,” said Google Fiber spokeswoman Kelly Mason in an email.

Maybe Google has decided to move ahead in Nashville. Or maybe the franchise application is just reconnaissance by fire, aimed at finding out how cooperative state authorities will be. Google obtained similar authority in Portland, despite the city’s less than enthusiastic response to the checklist. All we can do is wait.