Google A Go? Charlotte Waits For News On Google Fiber

Jan 26, 2015

Credit Google

Google has announced it will hold a press conference in Charlotte Tuesday afternoon.

So, what’s the big deal?

WFAE’s Tom Bullock is here to explain.

Mark Rumsey - So, Tom, what’s the deal?

TB - We have no official word yet but the even money bet, Mark, is we will learn whether or not Google Fiber is coming to Charlotte.

MR - That a new breakfast cereal?

TB - Sure sounds like one. But Google Fiber is the company’s super fast internet service. And unlike most other internet services that rely on copper cables or microwaves to connect houses and businesses to the internet, this one uses fiber optic cables to connect computers to the internet at significantly faster speeds. Google says their delivery system is about 100 times faster than the classic connections provided by cable and phone companies.

MR -  Now, building a new system for internet service in Charlotte will not be cheap. Who’s picking up the tab?

TB - Google says that it will foot the entire bill. And they do it by buying or renting unused fiber optic networks – so called ‘dark fiber’ - where they can and by building what they must. This is a model they’ve used in the three cities that currently have Google Fiber.

Google also charges customers between $70 and $120 per month for the service. That higher bill by the way includes some TV channels so it’s similar to a cable subscription but with fewer channels.  

MR - Last year the company said Charlotte was one of nine possible sites for Google fiber. What was the city asked to do to show it was a good home for the service?

TB - The city was given a 29 page ‘fiber city checklist’ it needed to fill out. Google wanted detailed maps of city infrastructure to see where it could run the fiber cables, build hubs for the service and Google wanted assurances the city could speed up the permit process for construction. Tomorrow, we’ll learn whether the city was able to accommodate Google’s request.