The Beaverton City Council signed off this week on a lease agreement for Google's "fiber huts," joining Portland and Lake Oswego, which have already approved similar arrangements.
The fiber huts are a key part of the hyperfast Internet network that Google Fiber says it may begin building across the Portland area, perhaps as soon as next year.
The company is evaluating local geography, regulations and its ability to tap into existing utility infrastructure before deciding whether to proceed with its Internet service and an accompanying cable TV system. A decision is due by the end of 2014.
Google Fiber is considering service in Gresham, Portland, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Hillsboro – and eight other metro areas around the country. It set a May 1 deadline for cities to complete a "checklist" of information about their communities, and asked that they approve a standard lease agreement to put fiber huts on public property. (Individual sites still need approval.)
The fiber huts are 12x28x9-foot equipment sheds that are intermediaries in Google's network, a collection point for fiber optics running to and from neighborhoods. Plans call for more than a dozen fiber huts in Portland, but just a few in each of the suburbs.
The lease agreement Beaverton approved Tuesday is similar to ones already approved in Portland and Lake Oswego. It sets a framework for leasing 1,400 square feet at $3 a square foot, subject to a 3 percent increase annually.
Portland approved a franchise agreement for Google Fiber last week, establishing a framework for the company to operate in the city that exempts the company from the citywide service requirement that Comcast faces, and some fees that Comcast pays. Instead, Google would commit to serving some nonprofits and establishing free Wi-Fi in parts of the city.
Google Fiber still needs a franchise agreement with Beaverton and the other four suburbs.
©2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)