The ABCs of Google Fiber is anywhere but California

31 May 2013 by Steve Blum
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This isn’t Kansas.

California is not on the Google Fiber roadmap right now, says Milo Medin, the man running the project. He was speaking at a Fiber to the Home Council meeting in Kansas City this week. According to a CNET story reported by Marguerite Reardon

[Medin] said that Google would love to bring fiber and 1Gbps broadband speeds to its employees and other Californians. But he said that in general California has many challenges that would make it too costly to build a fiber network there. He said he hopes that over time, the rules will change and California will become a more hospitable place for fiber networks.

‘I have to tell you that it’s really easy to build a network in Kansas City,’ he said, ‘It’s easy in Missouri; it’s easy in Kansas, and it’s easy in Texas. Actions have consequences. I would love to find a way to make it work in California.’

According to Medin, Google doesn’t want tax breaks or subsidies from local governments. It wants cooperation. Things like construction inspectors who are synced with the project’s workflow and access to city conduit. Things that are harder, in many cases, than writing a check.

Of course, there are willing cities in California. Santa Cruz is building a one-stop online shop for permits and San Leandro is making its traffic signal conduit available for a dark fiber build. But an environmental review process that even one of its original backers, Governor Jerry Brown, thinks is out of control, an outsized load of business red tape and taxes and a nimby zeitgeist restricts local maneuvering room.

It’s hard work anywhere, but harder than it needs to be in California.