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If you've ever signed up for internet service and honestly not been sure what is included in the price, you're not alone. So the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is doing something about it.

There’s been a lot of talk about the FCC’s Broadband Consumer Labels. These “nutrition labels” are designed to make it easy for customers to understand what they are paying for and what they are getting when it comes to their internet service from any provider. We think it’s a great idea, and we didn’t think that Google Fiber customers should have to wait for that clarity. As of today, GFiber is launching nutrition labels for our residential 1 Gig, 2 Gig, 5 Gig, and 8 Gig products — some of the first to roll out anywhere.


As you can see, the labels clearly show customers what they can expect when it comes to speed, price, and any fees that might apply, along with information regarding data caps and contracts (no caps or annual contracts here as you can see).

GFiber has always strived to provide clear pricing and value ($70 for a Gig since day one with equipment and installation included and no data caps or annual contracts), along with transparent billing for our customers, and we believe that these nutrition labels will further aid in that effort. For too long, our industry has hidden behind fees and pricing tactics that made it difficult for people to truly compare their internet options. Labels like these allow customers to understand what they are paying and what’s included — and what’s not — in that price. 

GFiber will update these labels to reflect the FCC's guidelines by the 2024 deadline. We believe that internet should be simple and straightforward — and as our new labels show, at GFiber it clearly is. For more information, please check out our Broadband Labels page.

Posted by Ariane Schaffer, Government Affairs & Public Policy Manager.

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Update: As of October 5, 2023, eligible customers who are enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program with Google Fiber Webpass can sign up for a net-zero cost service plan offering uploads and download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. To get access to this $30 a month plan ($0 with the ACP benefit), Google Fiber Webpass Customers must first qualify through the FCC and then sign up for a Google Fiber Webpass monthly internet plan. Existing customers who qualify can apply and change to the new plan through their account. New customers should check out the ACP page on our website. For more information about ACP and the new plan, check out our website.

Google Fiber was founded on the ideal of giving more people access to fast, reliable internet at an accessible price. That’s why we’ve been such strong supporters of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, and why we are now offering 300 Meg for $30 a month to customers who are participating in this program. 


With the $30 subsidy through the FCC, this plan is available at no cost to our ACP customers. It provides symmetrical uploads and downloads of up to 300 Mbps and include a Google WiFi device, along with no data caps, no annual contract, and GFiber’s dedicated customer service.  

How do I get it? With Digital Inclusion Week coming up, the necessity of the Affordable Connectivity Program has never been clearer. Over 20 million American households are using these funds to stay connected to work, school, family and much more. That’s why Google Fiber has been encouraging Congress to renew funding for ACP. Reach out to your representatives to ask them to ensure this essential program continues to connect our country.

Posted by Jess George, Head of Digital Equity & Community Impact, and Ariane Schaffer, Government Affairs & Public Policy Manager

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When we started Google Fiber eight years ago, we knew that building a new fiber network was going to be hard, slow and expensive. But what we didn’t fully appreciate were the obstacles we would face around a key part of the process: gaining timely access to space on utility and telephone poles to place new communications equipment.

One particular challenge revolves around making poles ready for new attachments. This “make ready” work has to be done to make room for new attachers’ equipment. The current system for make ready is done sequentially, and often involves multiple crews visiting the same pole several times over many months. This results in long delays, inflated costs and a frustrated community.

Fortunately, there is a better way. It is called One Touch Make Ready (OTMR), which is a system where a new attacher does much of the make ready work itself, all at one time. OTMR is a common sense policy that will dramatically improve the ability of new broadband providers to enter the market and offer competitive service, reducing delays and lowering costs by allowing the necessary work on utility poles to be done much more efficiently. This also means fewer crews coming through neighborhoods and disrupting traffic, making it safer for both workers and residents.

That’s why we’re so excited by the news that the FCC is poised to pass a rule that would institute a national One Touch Make Ready system, with the goal of significantly increasing the deployment of high-speed broadband across the United States. As the FCC stated, “OTMR speeds and reduces the cost of broadband deployment by allowing the party with the strongest incentive — the new attacher — to prepare the pole quickly to perform all of the work itself, rather than spreading the work across multiple parties.”

We fully support this effort by the FCC and applaud the efforts of Chairman Pai to remove obstacles that reduce choice and competition for broadband consumers. As the FCC says in its order, One Touch Make Ready “will serve the public interest through greater broadband deployment and competitive entry” — we couldn’t agree more.

By John Burchett, Director of Public Policy

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Update September 20, 2016, 6:00pm PDT: It’s a great day for Nashville. Congratulations to Nashville Metro Council and residents on passing Council Member Davis’ One Touch Make Ready ordinance on its third and final reading. This will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly. We look forward to continuing our work with NES and the local community. 

Update September 6, 2016, 7:35pm PDT: We're pleased that Nashville Metro Council supports Council Member Davis’ proposal for a 21st century framework, with a second reading vote of 32-7. Improving the make-ready construction process is key to unlocking access to a faster Internet for Nashville, and this Ordinance will allow new entrants like Google Fiber to bring broadband to more Nashvillians efficiently, safely and quickly. We look forward to continuing our work with NES and other attachers to bring our service to more homes and businesses in Nashville, faster.

Since we launched Google Fiber in Nashville a few months back, we have been humbled by the overwhelming support from local residents, businesses and property owners. We have also been hearing loud and clear that consumers want a choice when it comes to super-fast Internet.

Today Americans have little, if any, choice. The most recent Federal Communications Commission stats show 78% of census blocks have access to only one Internet provider offering speeds of 25 Mbps or more — the minimum speed to be considered “broadband”— while 30% have no broadband access. 

So what’s taking so long in Nashville? We have — like many of you — been disheartened by the incredibly slow progress. A big contributor to these delays is the “make ready” process required to attach a new line to a utility pole. Under this current system, each existing provider on the pole needs to send out a separate crew, one by one, to move its own line and make room for a new one. This may have worked a generation ago when there were only one or two attachers, but it’s extremely time consuming — not to mention disruptive to residents of Nashville — to do this with the numerous attachers we have today.

Of the 88,000 poles we need to attach Google Fiber to throughout Nashville, over 44,000 will require make ready work. But so far, only 33 poles have been made ready.
We are all seeing the consequences of this old policy: significant delays getting the super-fast Internet you want, from the provider you want. This isn’t just about Google Fiber, but a major hindrance to future innovation for anyone looking to build a new network.

We want to go faster and we know you do, too. The One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance now being debated by Nashville Metro Council will reduce delay and disruption by allowing the necessary work to be done much more efficiently — in as little as a single visit. This means fewer crews coming through neighborhoods and disrupting traffic, making it safer for workers and residents. The work would be done by a crew the pole owner has approved, instead of multiple crews from different companies working on the same pole over several months. 

Once we are on the poles, we will be subject to the same rules as anyone else. That this policy provides an equal playing field for innovation is why experts, groups representing communities, and other fiber builders support OTMR, too. However, some existing providers disagree, and would prefer to keep the current system.

There’s a critical vote scheduled at the Nashville Metro Council on Tuesday, September 6. Since OTMR was first put forward by Council Member Anthony Davis, we’ve worked closely with the Mayor’s office, Council and others to include amendments that we believe make OTMR ready to be enacted. Our sincere thanks to all these folks for their vision, hard work and focus on this ordinance. 

If you live in Nashville and you want more choice for super-fast Internet, please reach out to your local Council Member and tell them you support One Touch Make Ready. And attend next Tuesday’s crucial vote at the Metro Courthouse, starting at 6:30 p.m. CDT (arrive early to get a seat!) 

We can't wait to bring super-fast Internet to more people in Nashville, faster, and look forward to the outcome of September 6.

Posted by Chris Levendos, Director of National Deployment and Operations, Google Fiber

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Ed. Note: Today, we have a guest post from Heather Burnett Gold, President of the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, and Michael Render, Principal and Founder of RVA, LLC. They are sharing the findings of a new research report on how access to ultrafast Internet can boost the value of multi-family homes.

There are a slew of successful TV shows that follow people who are searching for a new home. Each show follows the same formula: seekers must decide between a few properties, debating the merits of various amenities, neighborhoods, and price points. Savvy producers have discovered we love to see people navigate the complex process of deciding where to live.

One factor that is increasingly having an impact on those decisions: access to ultra-high speed, reliable broadband. We have concrete data that shows access to fiber increases the value of single family homes. But what about the almost 30 percent of people in the US, both renters and owners, who live in multifamily housing?

In a new study the Fiber to the Home Council is releasing today, we find fast and reliable broadband is now rated the single most important amenity for multiple dwelling units (MDUs). In addition to finding ultra-high speed broadband to be more important than a pool, 24-hour security monitoring, covered parking, gym access and even cable TV, these results also show that MDU residents believe fiber-based broadband is significantly faster and more reliable than other technologies.

Our research also shows that MDU residents are willing to pay more to live where there’s fiber. People were willing to pay 2.8 percent more to purchase a condo or apartment with access to fiber optic service (based on a $300,000 home). For renters, it’s even more important. Respondents were willing to pay a premium of 8 percent (based on a $1000 monthly rent) for access to fiber. People who live in MDUs also want access to multiple providers, ranking provider choice as 6 out of 12 possible amenities.

While these numbers are based on all types of fiber-to-the-home, based on our other research and anecdotal evidence, values could be even higher for gigabit fiber service.

What do higher rental and sales values mean to MDU owners and operators? A better bottom line. Using data from the National Apartment Association, we estimate fiber can add 11 percent in net income per average apartment unit. And our findings show that fiber access increases resident satisfaction and appears to reduce churn, helping building owners and operators maintain high levels of occupancy and provide a quality living environment.

We’re excited about this study, which adds to the mounting evidence that fiber improves our communities. And we’re looking forward to continuing to work with MDU owners and operators in different ways in the quest to connect:
  • Marketing: Fiber providers throughout the country—including Google Fiber—should continue to work with MDUs to advertise fiber to attract new residents. (Our findings show fiber is a word of mouth technology that can attract residents to properties.) 
  • Access: MDU owners can assist by making buildings accessible while the fiber industry continues to make advancements in deployment methods and technologies that reduce any potential disruptions to residents. 
  • Education: We at the Council will continue to work with our partners to promote the value of a future-proof technology that increases the attractiveness of properties in an increasingly competitive housing market.

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Broadband access truly makes a difference in people’s lives, bringing economic, social, and educational opportunities to those who are online. Yet more than a third of Americans still do not subscribe to home broadband, while half of the nation’s households in the lowest income tier do not subscribe. For many families, affordability remains one of the primary barriers to getting online at home.

Improving access to affordable broadband has always been part of Google Fiber’s DNA—our digital inclusion efforts and community impact work are a central part of our ongoing efforts to help bring fast Internet to more people. Regardless of income, everyone should be able to experience the benefits of high speed connectivity.

Yesterday, the FCC adopted its Lifeline modernization order, an essential move to encouraging broadband adoption nationwide. Until now, Lifeline has provided funds to enable providers to deliver voice service to consumers at affordable rates. When the Lifeline Assistance Program was established in 1985, high speed broadband to homes didn’t exist. But much has changed since 1985—while voice service remains important, increasingly people use their broadband connection as a critical means of communication. As FCC Chairman Wheeler said, “... at a time when our economy and lives are increasingly moving online and millions of Americans remain offline, it doesn’t make sense for Lifeline to remain focused only on 20th century voice service.”

For the first time, low-income consumers can apply the $9.25 Lifeline subsidy to lower the cost of qualifying broadband plans. Now consumers have the opportunity to use their benefit to reduce the cost of subscribing to broadband Internet—not just voice service—so people can choose the connectivity services that meet their needs.

Importantly, the FCC’s reforms also shift the responsibility for determining consumer eligibility out of the hands of the carriers that currently receive subsidies and to a National Eligibility Verifier. As described in the FCC’s statements, the independent third party verifier will make eligibility determinations using data from existing trusted programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), streamlining the income verification process. Shifting eligibility determinations away from the service provider has two benefits. First, subscribers can take their benefits with them to a different provider or new address, leading to more consumer choice. Second, because the eligibility determination is based on existing trusted data, it can better protect consumer privacy and security and bring more dignity to the process.

Families with low incomes increasingly choose not to purchase home broadband because it just isn’t affordable—these and many of the other changes that the FCC has voted on go a long way to address this critical problem.

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We were heartened and encouraged when, a few weeks ago, the City of Louisville, Kentucky unanimously passed an ordinance that paves the way for its residents having access to faster and better broadband. So yesterday when we heard that AT&T was suing the City of Louisville for passing this so-called “One Touch Make Ready” rule, we were disappointed.

Google Fiber stands with the City of Louisville and the other cities across the country that are taking steps to bring faster, better broadband to their residents. Such policies reduce cost, disruption, and delay, by allowing the work needed to prepare a utility pole for new fiber to be attached in as little as a single visit—which means more safety for drivers and the neighborhood. This work would be done by a team of contractors the pole owner itself has approved, instead of having multiple crews from multiple companies working on the same pole over weeks or months. One Touch Make Ready facilitates new network deployment by anyone—and that's why groups representing communities and fiber builders support it, too.

Google Fiber is disappointed that AT&T has gone to court in an effort to block Louisville's efforts to increase broadband and video competition. We are confident the City's common-sense initiative will be upheld.

In response to the lawsuit yesterday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was quoted as saying, "We will vigorously defend the lawsuit filed today by AT&T. Gigabit fiber is too important to our city's future." Mayor Fischer, we couldn’t agree with you more, and stand with you.

Posted by Chris Levendos, Director of National Deployment and Operations, Google Fiber

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Nearly three years ago, Nick Budidharma, an 18­ year­ old game developer, drove with his parents from Hilton Head, S.C., to live in a “hacker home” that’s connected to the Google Fiber network. Synthia Payne relocated from Denver to launch a startup that aims to let musicians play together in real­-time online. Kansas City -- America’s first Google Fiber city -- has been transformed.

Today, Google Fiber continues to make the Internet faster and more accessible to more people across the country. Michael Slinger, Director of Google Fiber Cities, will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to urge policymakers to play a more active role in expanding nationwide broadband abundance.

Today’s hearing will highlight the expansion of broadband deployment, recent infrastructure developments, and policies that will encourage investment in broadband expansion. Michael will share our experience building out Google Fiber to present ideas for how policymakers can support greater broadband abundance:

“Policymakers’ top broadband goal should be achieving broadband abundance — which requires reducing the cost of network buildout and removing barriers that limit providers’ ability to reach consumers. The key is to focus on competition, investment, and adoption.”

When lawmakers successfully support broadband infrastructure and development, Americans will have more choices at higher speeds, small businesses will have the opportunity to expand, and local economies will grow.

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Ed. Note: we’re often asked about the economic impact of fiber networks — what does a gig really do for a local economy? To help answer your questions, we have a guest post from Heather Burnett Gold, President of the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, and Dr. David Sosa, a Principal at the Analysis Group. Today they are sharing the findings of a first-of-its-kind research report on the economic impact of fiber-to-the-home networks in U.S. communities.

While many people think of gigabit internet as essential to the future of the Web, others have wondered if these fiber networks just might be too fast, too soon. Based on early evidence of the economic impact of fiber-fed, gigabit services, we believe that the time for gigabit skepticism is over.

Today the Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas (FTTH Council) released a first-of-its-kind study — Early Evidence Suggests Gigabit Broadband Drives GDP — which looked at 55 communities in 9 states and found a positive impact on economic activity in the 14 communities where gigabit Internet services are widely available. In fact, these gigabit broadband communities exhibited a per capita GDP approximately 1.1 percent higher than the 41 similar communities with little to no availability of gigabit services.

This may not sound like much but consider this: in dollar terms, our research suggests that the 14 gigabit broadband communities studied enjoyed approximately $1.4 billion in additional GDP when gigabit broadband became widely available. (That’s enough money to buy the Buffalo Bills — if you wanted to).

Our study suggests that as gigabit services become available in more communities, the impact on economies and consumers is likely to be substantial. Indeed, if the 41 communities in our study without gigabit broadband were to adopt the new service, they could expect as much as $3.3 billion in incremental GDP. And we are not alone in this perspective; the ratings agency Fitch underscored this point when it upgraded Kansas City, Missouri’s bond ratings, noting that the gigabit to the home fiber network “[…] has the potential to make a significant economic impact.”

The deployment of widespread ultra-high bandwidth broadband offers great promise for our economic future, similar to the way that access to abundant electricity transformed the country, lighting up factories to produce affordable consumer goods and automobiles for transportation. The availability of electricity spurred an era of high productivity and economic growth. And now, we are beginning to see that access to abundant bandwidth is likely to have a similarly positive impact on our economy.

Widespread gigabit availability contributes to the economy in multiple ways. Investment in physical infrastructure and labor creates jobs and increases expenditures into inputs like electronics and fiber optic cable. But next generation broadband infrastructure can also shift economic activity, sparking local tech scenes and the relocation of businesses. Claris Networks moved its data center operations from Knoxville to Chattanooga to take advantage of its fiber network. Lafayette's network attracted Hollywood special effects company Pixel Magic to the community, because the high performance gigabit network lets Pixel Magic move computer files back and forth between Lafayette and California quickly. And from the Hacker House in Kansas City to Fargo’s Startup House in Fargo, North Dakota, local entrepreneurs are using gigabit networks to develop new applications and services, bringing in new investment and talent along the way.

In the last several years, communities, their leaders and several private companies have made moves to stimulate and support our economy by upgrading our networks to gigabit capabilities. They, and we, remain gigabit enthusiasts, willing to welcome the skeptics to help us make gigabit communities a priority.

Posted by Heather Burnett Gold, the FTTH Council and Dr. David Sosa, the Analysis Group

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Ed. Note: Local governments from across America often ask us about what they can do to prepare their communities for fiber networks. We’ve learned a lot from our work with KC, Austin and Provo — but we were also curious about what a longtime industry expert might recommend. That’s why we turned to Joanne Hovis, a communications policy expert and advocate for the interests of local communities, the President of CTC Technology & Energy and the immediate past president of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). We asked Joanne to pull together her recommendations on how local communities can become more “fiber-ready.” She recently published this advice (with financial support from us) for local leaders in a paper called Gigabit Communities, and she’s joining us as a guest blogger to talk about her suggestions.
In 2009, city leaders and residents in Chattanooga made a bold decision — they built a new local fiber-optic network so that they could have widespread access to faster broadband. Years later, the decision has paid off; according to the New York Times, the network has helped to create jobs and spur economic growth. This success story is just part of the recent wave of interest in next generation fiber-optic networks that seems to be sweeping the country as local governments are increasingly looking for ways to bring faster broadband and more competition to their communities. Building a network like Chattanooga’s might not be possible everywhere. But there is an alternate option — as an advisor to many communities, I’ve seen that that there are certain steps that cities and counties can take that could help attract fiber companies to build private local networks.
Institute “dig once” policies. When private companies build fiber networks, one of the biggest costs is stringing physical fiber lines throughout an entire community, which requires either digging up streets (to put fiber underground) or installing new utility poles (to string fiber in the air). If localities want to attract fiber providers, they can help to make this future construction much easier by instituting what’s called a “dig once” policy. Every time the city does road maintenance or needs to dig up streets to reach water or sewer pipes, they can install fiber conduit while they’re already down there. Then, they can make that conduit available for providers to lease and pull their fiber through. Not only is this an attractive option to providers who save the time and expense of digging, but it has the added benefit of reducing future disruption for local citizens (who probably don’t want to deal with a future road closure if it can be avoided).
Alternatively, the locality can install large bundles of fiber and make that available to companies or non-profits who want to build state-of-the-art broadband. In our experience, the strategy of building conduit or fiber whenever possible is the single-most powerful, cost-effective step a locality can take to enable new network development.
Compile current info on local infrastructure. Another thing cities and counties can do is to compile a lot of the local infrastructure information they already have — like where existing utilities are — and make that data accessible to potential network providers. Making this information available will help potential partners kick-start their network planning without having to survey and record the data themselves. In turn, local governments will be able to start substantive conversations with these providers much faster.
Streamline local government processes. Finally, cities and counties can take a look at some of their existing government processes and think about how to streamline and standardize them. For example, building a fiber network can require a lot of construction permits. By establishing a standard permitting process and publishing it for potential providers to see, localities can clearly indicate to network providers that they’re ready for a major infrastructure project. These providers can play a role, too — if they decide to build fiber in an area, they can share their building plans with localities ahead of time, and determine a rolling timeline of permit requests, to save localities from being inundated with thousands of permits at once.
These are just a few recommendations — but after working in this industry for almost two decades, we have many more tips for helping cities get ready for the fiber-optic networks that are the future. We also have case studies and engineering analysis, all compiled into a report, which can be found on We truly believe that fiber networks are essential to our communities’ future economic and community development, and we hope our experiences can help localities as they work toward that fiber future.

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This is the second post in our “Behind the Scenes” blog series, designed to answer some frequently asked questions about how things work at Google Fiber. Today, our construction manager John Toccalino is going to explain the steps in actually building a Google Fiber network and why it takes awhile. - Ed.
Today your Internet and TV service are probably connected to your home via copper wires. This technology has been around for over 100 years, and it just wasn’t built for what we’re trying to use it for today. My job with Google Fiber is to build thousands of miles of brand new fiber-optic cable, which is far better and faster than copper at transmitting information, such as the bits that make up your favorite websites, YouTube videos, video chats, or online games. Fiber-optic cables are made of glass, and they use lasers to transmit information — close to the speed of light! It’s amazing technology, but unfortunately very few homes have direct access to fiber networks today.
That’s where my team comes in. Every day, we’re working to plan and build brand new Google Fiber networks in Kansas City and Austin. There are a few big steps.
Step 1: Figure out where we can put our fiber. We need to build thousands of miles of fiber — but we can’t just put it wherever we want. First, we use the infrastructure data that the city has shared with us to create a base map of where we can build (existing utility poles, conduit) and where we should avoid (water, sewer and electric lines). Then, a team of surveyors and engineers hits the streets to fill in any missing details.
Step 2: Design the network. There are a few basic components to our Fiber networks that we need to design from scratch for every single city. In general, you can think of it as a hub-and-spoke design:

Every mile of this network has to be planned and diagramed, which takes a huge amount of time (imagine planning a network that touches ~30 utility poles per mile, for thousands of miles). We also plan and build backup fiber routes; we want to be ready just in case there's a break in service along any section of our network (it just so happens that squirrels love to chew through fiber lines).
Step 3: Build the network. Only once we have a solid plan — including diagrams of every utility pole our fiber will travel on, detailed maps of where we’ll need to dig up streets to install new conduit, and the specs for every single hut and cabinet — can we get boots on the ground to start building our network. That’s when you’ll start to see crews out in the streets with their boom trucks, boring machines, and rolls of conduit and cables.

In other words, this is a huge undertaking, and we know you might get a bit impatient with us from time to time. We know you want your Google Fiber — please know that we’ve got our teams hard at work to get you connected just as soon as we can.

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Today we’re introducing a “Behind the Scenes” blog series, designed to answer some frequently asked questions about how things work at Google Fiber. Today we’ll hear from Derek Slater, a Government Relations Manager at Google who works with the Fiber team, to explain how we work with local city governments to build a fiber network. - Ed.
When most Americans connect to the Internet from their homes, their signal travels along a local telecommunications infrastructure, currently built mostly of copper cables that run along utility poles or underground. Now that technology has advanced, communities are starting to upgrade to fiber-optic cable that’s better suited to 21st century communications demands, like high-speed Internet. And that involves a lot of detailed planning — utility pole by utility pole and block by block.
That’s what Google Fiber teams are working on right now in the Kansas City area, Austin, and Provo. We’re going to tell you more about the actual construction process in a future blog post, but here we want to focus on how we work closely with city leaders before anyone picks up a shovel or climbs a ladder.
The existing telecommunications infrastructure was installed bit by bit throughout the 20th century — so it’s likely that cities have never experienced the kind of scale and pace of building an entire telecommunications infrastructure all at once. That’s why our first step is to sit down with them to discuss how we can work together quickly and efficiently on such an unusually large project. Some people have suggested that these conversations between Google Fiber and city leaders involve requests for special incentives, exclusive privileges or tax breaks — and that’s simply not true. Instead, like anyone looking to deploy a new network, our conversations cover some pretty mundane stuff, usually across 3 main topics:
Access to infrastructure - In order to build a network, we need to string fiber along utility poles or install it underground through protective tubes called conduit. It’s not feasible for each and every provider to build their own poles and conduit — after all, there’s only so much space on city streets, and it'd be an ugly waste of resources to force everyone to put up brand new poles alongside existing ones and dig up city streets unnecessarily. So it's essential that cities ensure that new providers can use existing poles and conduit. We work with the city and, where applicable, the local electric utility and telephone company to figure out which poles and conduit we can use for Google Fiber, then we agree on a fair market price we can pay to lease that space.
Access to local infrastructure maps - Once we get permission to lease space on existing poles and in available conduit, we need to know where all of that infrastructure is physically located, so that we can plan where our fiber lines will go. It is critical that the city provide accurate maps about poles and conduit, plus info about existing water, gas, and electricity lines, so that we can know where we can safely build our fiber network.
Expedited construction permits - Google Fiber cities need to be ready for the large volume of permits (thousands!) that we’ll be submitting to them. We comply with each city’s permitting code, and we work closely with cities to figure out a way to expedite the permitting process to make sure that they’re comfortable and ready for the planned pace.
Our work with the city doesn’t end here. We stay in touch with city leaders and work closely with them throughout the entire construction and installation process to make it as quick and painless for residents as possible — a topic which we’ll cover in our next “Fiber Behind the Scenes” blog post.

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Ed Note: From time to time, we invite guest bloggers to write about their work — and why they think faster Internet speeds are important — here on our Fiber blog. Today we’re joined by Joe Kochan, the COO of US Ignite, a nonprofit that’s been traveling the U.S. searching for developers who want to build new tools for a faster web. US Ignite is joining us at the Kansas City Fiber Space this November and they’re looking for a few talented developers to come along...
What would you do with a gigabit? That's the question that US Ignite has been working to answer since we launched — and we want you to help us come up with some answers. This November, our team will travel to Kansas City to work with local and national developers to build and test gigabit applications that are built for high speed networks like the Google Fiber.
Do you want to build an application that:
• Is incredibly and realistically responsive, with no latency or delay?
• Allows you to touch, move, and control things with your hands, your eyes or your body language?
• Enables real-time collaboration in a natural way?
• Provides immediate results from massive computational efforts with big data?
• Is not limited by bandwidth?

If so, we want you to join us in Kansas City on Friday, November 1 - Sunday, November 3 for our Gigabit Explorer Challenge. We’re accepting applications starting this week — just submit your ideas on our website to join the contest. Not only will you get to develop using Google Fiber, but you’ll also have access to technology advisors and onsite computing and storage resources. You just need to have a great idea and be willing to put in the time to develop it.
For more information about US Ignite and its mission, please visit our website or watch this 3-minute video summarizing our recent Applications Summit, where some gigabit applications were already demonstrated. Hope to see you at the Fiber Space!

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Google is all about building data-driven products. When users of Google Navigation wanted the ability to circumnavigate heavy traffic, we began to use real-time traffic data to suggest alternate routes. When Google engineers began to tackle the problem of automatic translation online, they relied on translation data from hundreds of thousands of websites in many languages.
Similarly, as we’re in the process of bringing Google Fiber to Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO, we need to first understand how many people here already have access to broadband, and more importantly, how many don’t. In order to get a grasp on the situation we partnered with a group that’s full of community experts—the Mayor’s Bistate Innovation Team (MBIT)—to commission a study on broadband adoption and digital literacy in Kansas City. Today, we’re gathering with MBIT at the Kansas City, MO Central Library to release and discuss the data that we’ve collected.
The good news is that a lot Kansas Citians seem to recognize the value of the web. Those surveyed said that the Internet can be helpful when it comes to job hunting, getting health information, and learning new things.
Unfortunately, our study also illustrates that there is a real digital divide in both Kansas Cities. We found that 17% of Kansas Citians are not going online at all, and 8% are only using dial-up or slow speed wireless connections.
These stats lead to a follow-up question: why are one-quarter of Kansas Citians not connected to the web at home? We found that one of the primary reasons is cost. 28% of those who don’t use said that they don’t go online because they don’t have a computer, or because Internet access is too expensive. Meanwhile, 41% of respondents said they don’t go online because they just don’t think it’s relevant to their lives.
This is a big deal. Using the Internet isn’t just about checking email and social networking. Access to broadband—and knowing how to use it—has become essential when it comes to jobs, education, business and much more. The web provides a wealth of information and services for Internet users, and people who aren’t online are, simply put, at a huge disadvantage. A job search, for example, is much harder today without the ability to review job listings and apply online. Similarly, computer skills and digital literacy have become perquisites for the majority of job opportunities.
From a policy standpoint, we can try and address these issues by encouraging policies that will make computers and Internet access more affordable, and promote digital literacy initiatives.
But a lot of outreach and education needs to take place on a community level. And that’s why this morning we’ve joined representatives from amazing local nonprofits, schools, libraries, city governments and other community experts in a discussion about how to take action and get Kansas Citians online using broadband Internet access. We’ll post the video of our discussion here as soon as it’s ready. In the meantime, you can peruse or download the full results of our study.
The Google Fiber project is about making the web better and faster—but it’s also about making the Internet more accessible for people throughout Kansas City. Digital inclusion here is a priority for Google, and it’s clear that it’s also a priority for community nonprofits and the local governments.
Update: We're also sharing our research on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood level. You can read or download the findings if you're interested!

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Yesterday the Mayors Bistate Innovation Team (MBIT) in Kansas City released the beta version of their Google Fiber Playbook, full of recommendations on how the citizens and government of Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO can effectively leverage our gigabit network. We’re happy to welcome Ray Daniels and Mike Burke, co-chairs of MBIT, as our first guest authors on the Google Fiber blog to elaborate on the Playbook’s recommendations. - Ed.
When Google chose Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO for their 1 gigabit fiber network, us Kansas Citians were pretty excited. We knew that Google Fiber held a lot of potential for our region to be at the forefront of developing new technologies and to grow as a tech hub...but we weren’t quite sure how to make that happen.
So in September of last year, Mayors Sly James and Joe Reardon from each city appointed a Mayors' Bistate Innovation Team (MBIT), charged with developing a Playbook of creative ways that the community can use Google Fiber to spark economic development, advance opportunities and improve daily life in Kansas City.
As co-chairs of MBIT, we had the amazing opportunity (along with the rest of our team) to meet with community members from many different sectors including neighborhoods, schools, libraries, hospitals, health providers, arts, businesses, and more to learn about what Fiber means to them, and what impact they imagine it might have. In addition to doing research for the Playbook, our team also investigated the broader issues of innovation and digital inclusion in Kansas City.
What we found was a community alive with dreams and visions for a better Kansas City, enriched by broad access to high-speed Internet connectivity and trained to take advantage of all it can offer. In fact, we got so much amazing feedback that we’ll be releasing several iterations of the Playbook, in order to collect and incorporate even more public feedback. We’ve opened an online forum where anyone can submit their ideas, and we invite you to contribute your thoughts.
But for now, our preliminary recommendations in the Playbook highlight the areas in our community where we think Google Fiber can make a real difference. Some of these recommendations include:
Education: Outfit a handful of classrooms for demonstration projects that fully integrate high-speed fiber technology into daily lessons, equipping our students with the most innovative educational resources.
Telehealth Pilots: Work with several hospitals and clinics to provide the technology to perform diagnostic services to people at home and at work, potentially increasing the quality of care for some patients while simultaneously reducing ER wait times and hospital readmissions.
Testbeds for entrepreneurs: Build a technology incubator that invites entrepreneurs to gather in a fiber-rich environment and work together to enhance their current businesses and develop new apps.
Global Roundtables: Conduct a series of global telepresence roundtables to establish Kansas City as an emerging global leader in the new digital economy and accelerate economic development and innovation.
Enhance Convention Center technology: Make our convention center one of the most tech-friendly gathering places in the country.
Develop a robust IT workforce: Work with and train Kansas Citians to become leading IT professionals throughout the US and the world.
We’re excited about the potential of these ideas—and the many more that we outline in our beta Playbook. But we’re also very aware that high-speed fiber cannot reach its full potential if large segments of our community are excluded from its benefits. Digital inclusion will be a huge pillar of our work on Google Fiber in the community. We hope to work with Google and other community organizations to make broadband access widely available in Kansas City, and to develop computer literacy training so that all Kansas Citians can have access to public services and social, financial, cultural, and informational resources.
To shepherd all of these elements from ideas to action, we’re recommending the creation of a new region-wide Digital Leadership Network. While many organizations will lead or partner on specific initiatives, we will look to the Digital Leadership Network as a new, united effort to ensure implementation of projects in the Playbook and to bring vision, strategy and coordination to the region’s broadband efforts over time.
High-speed fiber, by itself, is no guarantee of leadership in innovation or economic development. These opportunities will come only through work, initiative, and community support, hopefully guided by Playbook recommendations from MBIT and from the community.

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Last week we posted some of the top questions and answers from our recent town hall event. As promised, here’s part two –

Q: What type of direct economic impact will this project have on residents of Kansas City?
A: This will be different from any broadband deployment that has ever been done before, so it’s difficult to predict or calculate an exact economic impact. That said, we strongly believe that this type of infrastructure will give the Kansas City region a competitive advantage over areas across the country, and that this advanced connectivity will attract entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses to the region – which will lead to economic development and growth.

Q: Will Google be hiring locally?

A: There will be construction and engineering jobs, and to the extent that local providers are the right fit, they will be hired. But to be clear, we’re not planning to build a Google campus here or hire large numbers of local employees.

Q: Will Google be building a data center here?

A: We have no current plans to build a data center in Kansas City.

Q: How is Google planning to engage the community and bridge the digital divide?

A: We’ve just stared our initial outreach, but we’re very interested in reaching out to all community groups that share our commitment to getting more people online.

Q: Will Google’s infrastructure be open to other companies?

A: We plan to offer ultra high-speed Internet access directly to consumers at an affordable price. We look forward to sharing more information as we begin to develop more specific plans.

Q: What will this actually look like inside my home? Will I connect my computer via a regular Ethernet connection?

A: There are many types of homes and many different approaches for converting an ultra high-speed signal from fiber to Ethernet, and we’re working to provide efficient solutions for each.

Q: Are you planning to introduce courses or programs to help take advantage of fiber?

A: We’ll be looking to partner with local organizations to help share knowledge and uses of this new technology. Stay tuned.

Q: What schools will receive free Internet service? Will you include religious and private schools?

A: As part of our agreements with Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, Google will connect hundreds of educational and public entities as we build out our network. Each city will determine those locations.

Q: How will this project be integrated into Google’s green energy projects?

A: As part of the project, Google has agreed to explore with Kansas City different potential uses of a ultra high speed fiber network, including the city's existing smart grid program. We look forward to sharing more information as we begin to develop more specific plans.

Have a question that’s not answered here? Please feel free to write us at, and we’ll do our best to respond as soon as possible.

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Earlier this spring I had the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of members of the Kansas City, Kansas, community at a town hall meeting, where I answered some questions about our project. It was a great conversation, and as a follow-up I wanted to post some of the top questions and answers from the event.

Below you’ll find some of the most commonly asked questions about Google Fiber. We’ll be posting a second round of responses next week.

In the meantime, feel free to send your questions to – we’ll do our best to respond as soon as possible.

Q: Google is a search engine – why are you building an ultra high-speed fiber network?

A: Our business is built on the success of the web. We believe that building an ultra high-speed broadband network will help move the web forward and push the boundaries of technology – that’s good for users and good for Google.

Q: Will Google be providing TV and phone service, or are you focused on Internet connectivity?

A: For now we’re focused on providing ultra high-speed Internet connectivity. We want to hear from Kansas City residents what additional services they would find most valuable before announcing any additional commitments.

Q: Will you be expanding your project to other communities in the region?

A: We’ll be looking closely at ways to bring ultra high-speeds to other communities in the future, but we don’t have any plans to announce at this time. For now our focus is on Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: It's too early to say how much we plan to charge for service, but we do plan to set prices that are competitive to what people are currently paying for broadband access.

Q: When can I sign up?

A: We plan to offer service beginning in 2012. We plan to begin advance sign-ups in Q4 of this year, and our goal is to offer service starting in 2012.

Q: Will Google be deploying technologies that the Kansas City community will be the first to see?
A: We’ll have more to share in the future – but yes, our network will be cutting-edge!

Q: What is Google doing to ensure accessibility?

A: Google’s mission to make the world’s information more accessible applies to all users, including people with disabilities, such as blindness, visual impairment, color deficiency, deafness, hearing loss and limited dexterity. To learn more, please visit our Accessibility at Google site.

Q: Will you be supporting IPv6?

A: Yes, we plan to make our network IPv6 ready. To learn more about IPv6, check out this page.

Q: How will my privacy be protected?

We intend to operate this network in a way that's fully consistent with our design principles with respect to privacy. We will design strong privacy protections for user data into the offering, and provide users with a robust set of choices about their use of this and other Google services.

Q: Is Google working with manufacturers to make sure computers will be able to take advantage of gigabit speeds?

A: Yes, manufacturers are already paying attention, and almost all new products coming to market today are capable of handling gigabit speeds.

Next week I’ll be sharing more Q&A – so stay tuned to this blog for the latest.

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(Cross-posted from the Public Policy Blog.)

ThumbnailGiven how important broadband capability is to economic growth and job creation, it's no surprise that it's become a major topic of discussion in Washington.

The FCC is currently finalizing its National Broadband Plan to present to Congress next month. Recently we suggested that as part of its Plan, the Commission should build ultra high-speed broadband networks as testbeds in several communities across the country, to help learn how to bring faster and better broadband access to more people. We thought it was important to back up our policy recommendation with concrete action, so now we've decided to build an experimental network of our own.

Today we announced plans to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks, delivering Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what's available today to most Americans, over 1 gigabit per second fiber connections. As a first step, we're asking interested local governments to complete a request for information, which will help us determine where to build. Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make broadband Internet access better, faster, and more widely available.

We're excited to see how consumers, small businesses, anchor institutions, and local governments will take advantage of ultra high-speed access to the Net. In the same way that the transition from dial-up to broadband made possible the emergence of online VoIP and video and countless other applications, we think that ultra high-speed bandwidth will lead to many new innovations – including streaming high-definition video content, remote data storage, distance learning, real-time multimedia collaboration, and others that we simply can't imagine yet.

This project will build on our ongoing efforts to expand and improve Internet access for consumers – from our free municipal Wi-Fi network in Mountain View, CA, to our advocacy in the 700 MHz spectrum auction, to our work to open the TV "white spaces" to unlicensed uses.

In building our broadband testbed, we plan to incorporate the policies we've been advocating for in areas like network neutrality and privacy protection. Even on a small scale, building an experimental network will also raise other important legal and policy issues, from local environmental law to rights-of-way, so we'll be working closely with communities, public officials, and other stakeholders to make sure we get this right.

By several measures, no matter who you ask, the U.S. in far too many places still lags behind many countries in Europe and Asia in terms of broadband speed, availability, and uptake. While it's unlikely that our experiment will be the silver bullet that delivers ultra high-speed Internet access to the rest of America, our engineers hope to learn some important things from this project. We can't wait to see what developers and consumers alike can accomplish with access to 1 gigabit broadband speeds.

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