Google Fiber, Google’s internet service, is coming to Mesa, the first Arizona city to receive the service, the company announced Friday.
At the Mesa City Council meeting on July 11, the council will vote on a measure to allow Google to prioritize the city to install its infrastructure on city streets.
“It was a great collaboration with the city of Mesa. The city is very interested in giving residents choice in how they get their Internet service,” said Ashley Church, general manager for the western region of Google Fiber.
If the measure is approved by the council, Google will start the engineering phase to prepare the construction and installation of the fiber optic substrate.
A new option for internet service
Cox and CenturyLink are the largest Internet service providers in Mesa and both offer services throughout the city.
Ian Linssen, assistant to the city manager in Mesa, said expanding broadband access and closing the digital divide has been a priority for the municipality for years, and that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue even more urgent.
In January, the municipality made a request for information, looking for information about the expansion of the fiber network in the city. The request garnered seven responses, including from Google and another provider called SiFi, which will also be before the city council seeking licenses to develop a network in Mesa.
“Fiberglass technology is the technology of the future,” says Linssen. “It has the ability to provide speeds and services to close the digital divide.”
The city is also working on other programs to increase Internet access, he said.
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Start of construction planned for next year
Google uses a “shallow trenching” method to run the fiber optic cable in a 1½- to 2-inch-wide trench along the curb close to one side of the street. The method ensures that the installation is “less disruptive and as seamless as possible for residents,” Church said.
Construction is scheduled to start in early 2023, with the first customers being served at the end of 2023.
Google doesn’t wait for the entire construction project to be completed to connect customers, so some residents will have access to Google Fiber before the entire city can connect.
So far, Mesa is the only Arizona city where the Google Fiber network is planned, but Church says the company is exploring other cities.
“Google Fiber is built for speed; it’s a different type of Internet service,” Church said.
The service offers two different plans, a $70 per month plan with one gigabit per second download and upload speed and a $100 per month plan with two gigabit per second download speed and one gigabit upload speed.
The company is also working to “future-proof” its technology to “keep pushing the boundaries” for speed, Church said.
Google Fiber started in 2010 and has service in 20 other cities and metro areas.
“We’ve been on that mission to really invest in communities,” Church said. “We want to bring a reasonably priced, open internet that is reliable.”
Google declined to share data on demand for Google Fiber in cities where the service is available, but Church said the company does extensive due diligence before entering a city to justify the private investment in building the network.
Mesa was also the landing site for Google’s $1 billion data center, which is located in the city’s Elliot Road Technology Corridor.
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