Google Fiber adds two California cities to the prospect list

13 September 2015 by Steve Blum
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Irvine and San Diego join San Jose (and surrounding Silicon Valley communities) as possible expansion targets for Google Fiber. The announcement, which was made in a blog post, also included Louisville, Kentucky.

All three are now “potential fiber cities”, which means that Google Fiber intends to talk with local officials about what’s needed to move it up the classification list to “upcoming fiber city”…

Our next step is to begin a joint planning process with city leaders, just as we did when we began working with nine metro areas last year.

To kick things off, we’ll work with Irvine, Louisville and San Diego to conduct a detailed study of factors that affect construction, such as local topography, housing density, and the condition of existing infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items—such as providing a map of utility lines—that will prepare them for a large-scale fiber build.

So far, Google has expressed proper optimism about including California in its plans, but frustration with the lengthy, and nimby ridden, process to get permission to build from local governments has been apparent. The response from Silicon Valley communities was a long way from the enthusiastic embrace Google received from communities and regulatory agencies in other states.

It could turn out to be different in southern California, though. Irvine, in particular, has a reputation as a pro-development city, at least compared to the Californian norm. Both San Diego and Irvine are home to University of California campuses and have a thriving mix of established and bleeding edge high tech sectors. There’s no shortage of motivation when it comes to competing for the kind of businesses Silicon Valley takes for granted.