Map: The 34 cities that may be awarded Google Fiber by year’s end

February 19

(Google)

If you've been salivating over Google Fiber because of the company's limited rollout so far, take note: Google is working with nearly three dozen cities to expand its high-speed fiber optic service. Not all of them are likely to wind up getting Google Fiber; the company's first step is to find out from local officials what would be required to build out the infrastructure in each area. But the announcement is Google's latest move to compete with incumbent carriers in local broadband markets.

The communities under consideration include areas around San Jose, Portland, Atlanta and San Antonio, among others. Here's the full list:


(Google)

To qualify, cities will need to fill out a checklist so that Google knows where it can lease utility poles and lay down new fiber. They'll also have to prove that Google won't face any troublesome permitting issues.

All these conditions reveal some interesting power dynamics between the search giant and the mayors that are competing for Google's affections. Usually, companies have to go through complicated or costly processes to dig up the streets and install new infrastructure. In Kansas City, where Google Fiber is being built, officials waived fees and made other concessions to woo the company. But Google is attractive enough to many mayors that it's been able to turn that model on its head. Google is asking the cities to complete a checklist of requirements before the company will consider bringing its fiber service to those cities.

Google plans to announce by the end of the year which cities will be receiving Fiber. Until then, consumers will have a long wait ahead.

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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Brian Fung · February 19