Google Fiber is making its biggest expansion to date. On Jan. 27, the company announced 18 new cities that will become part of its growing gigabit broadband service. The new Fiber cities are in the metropolitan regions of Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
In February 2014, Google named 34 prospective Fiber cities, beginning an evaluation process that involved gauging the public’s interest in those areas and the cooperation of local governments. Those regions still in the “prospective” category include Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; and San Antonio.
In blog post chronicling Fiber’s progress, Google notes that the availability of gigabit Internet access has connected students to underwater microscopes that allow them to study the Pacific Ocean, it’s assisted the work of a geneticist looking to help newborns in intensive care, and facilitated programming courses in Kansas City.
Fiber has also stimulated the broadband market in the regions it has entered. Anecdotes of increased competition is driving market choice around the nation. CenturyLink recently began offering gigabit broadband in some areas of Seattle, leading incumbent provider Comcast to begin doubling service speeds in those areas.
Google noted that Fiber is a long-term investment that aligns with infrastructure needed to build a future like the one alluded to by the president in his recent State of the Union address.