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Is Google Fiber Coming to a City Near You? It Just Might Be

Since pausing expansion efforts in 2016, Google Fiber has slowly resumed adding new cities and even has plans to add some more this year. But why did it pause, and which cities will get the high-speed service next?

Google Fiber
In March 2010, Google Fiber burst onto the Internet provider scene, offering cities the promise of high-speed broadband service. That promise, however, became an increasingly complicated proposition that eventually forced the company to pause expansion efforts in 2016.

When Google Fiber first launched, it offered cities Internet that reached speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. To put this into perspective, the average household in the U.S. has an Internet connection of just under 20 megabits per second (Mbps), according to Lifewire. Typical high-speed service ranges between 25 and 75 Mbps.

In March 2010, more than 1,100 cities applied to be the company's first Fiber City, and a year later, Kansas City, Kan., was chosen, followed closely by Kansas City, Mo. This would lead to the implementation of fiber across the Kansas-Missouri border in 2012.
And the company would go on to expand into the following cities between 2012 and 2016: Olathe, Kan.; Austin, Texas; Provo, Utah; Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; Nashville, Tenn.; Orange County, Calif.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; and The Triangle, N.C.

Other cities like San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Seattle, Wash.; Chicago, Ill.; Miami, Fla.; and Boston, Mass., were also added to the list of coverage areas thanks to a deal that took place not long before the company paused operations.

But in 2020, Google Fiber announced it was back in the Internet service game and working with city officials from West Des Moines, Iowa.

At the time, a press release from the company said, "West Des Moines marks our first new market in more than four years. During that time, we've been focused on improving our customer experience around speed, reliability and service."

So far, certain areas in West Des Moines are connected via Google Fiber. The company is currently building a conduit network throughout the city to pull glass fiber lines through these conduits to reach local homes and businesses.

In addition to West Des Moines, Google Fiber also announced it's expanding its footprint to Mesa, Ariz.

On July 11, Mesa City Council members unanimously voted to approve license agreements with Google Fiber and other service providers — like SiFi, Ubiquity and Wyyerd — to provide residents with Internet connection options.

"Reliable high-speed Internet is not a luxury — it's an essential utility like water or electricity. In the way the world operates today, no one can afford to be disconnected," Mesa Mayor John Giles said in a press release. "These partnerships are bringing us closer to our goals of getting fiber to every home and business, increasing affordable connectivity for residents and future-proofing our city."

Overall, this effort looks to bring additional network connectivity to 264,000 city premises and 2,470 street miles, according to the city.

As for Mesa's current Internet landscape, a household survey found that 75 percent of residents currently have some form of landline broadband connection. An additional 8 percent of residents rely on their cellphone data to get online.

Because of this service gap, the city is also looking to expand the current Wi-Fi network downtown to cover an additional nine square miles, impacting city parks, pools and libraries and deploying a Citizen Broadband Radio System network in underserved areas.

As for Google Fiber, now that Mesa's City Council has approved all license agreements, the Internet provider will begin the city's permitting process to start laying fiber.

However, Mesa may not be the last city added this year to Google Fiber's coverage area list.

According to an article by, other potential Fiber cities are also in the works.

These cities are based in Utah and have an estimated completion date ranging between 2022-2023. These cities include Riverton, Millcreek, Taylorsville, South Salt Lake, Holladay, Woods Cross and Draper.

These plans were confirmed by Mark Strama, Google's general manager for expansion markets.

"We've expanded to a bunch of new cities around our Utah footprint. We've also expanded to Smyrna, for example, around Tennessee, within our Nashville footprint," Strama told Government Technology. "We'll continue to be expanding around our existing footprint for the long term."

As for other things coming down the pipeline, Strama said the company's short-term goals include continuously improving high-speed Internet and service quality standards and building a scalable deployment model to create and sustain a financially viable business.

Meanwhile, long-term goals involve bringing Google Fiber to more communities and inspiring the industry to achieve similar goals.

"I think the way people use the Internet has already evolved in the last three years and will continue to evolve as bandwidth, and more people get better internet speeds and are able to do more on the Internet," Strama said.
Katya Diaz is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.
Andrew Adams is a data reporter for <i>Government Technology</i>. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois Springfield.