No Google Fiber in Christmas stockings for hopeful cities

26 December 2014 by Steve Blum
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Naughty or nice? Google won’t say.

The 34 communities across the U.S. that were hoping Google would come down the chimney yesterday and leave a fiber-to-the-home project under the tree will have to wait to find out if they made it onto the nice list. Back in February, Google said it would pick the winners by the end of the year, but it’s told prospective communities it’s going to take a little longer than they thought. According to press reports in many of those cities, Google sent out a brief notice to that effect…

While we were hoping to have an update for cities before the holidays, we have a bit more work to wrap up; we’ll be back in touch sometime early next year.

It’s not a huge surprise. What appear to be reconnaissance by fire missions are ongoing in some of those metro areas. Google has a franchise application in front of Tennessee regulators, for example. If the people in charge of Google Fiber are smart – it’s a fair bet they are – then they’re going to want to make sure that upfront promises of enthusiastic cooperation by public officials are matched by actual performance at the permit counter. That kind of due diligence won’t run on Silicon Valley time, so pushing the announcement deadline back a few weeks or even a couple of months is a prudent move.

Whenever word comes, Californian cities are expected to get a lump of coal. The 5 Silicon Valley cities initially named as prospects did not exactly bend over backwards in response, at least not compared to places like San Antonio, which basically said OK, whatever you want, you got.