updated 01:20 pm EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Deal not yet done, Google may not choose area for next round of expansion
City commissioners in Portland, Oregon have voted unanimously to approve Google's effort to provide its fiber optic Internet access in the area. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales called the product "a good fit with who we are and who we will be in this city" while voting for the city to enable the project in the area.
Google hasn't decided which area is next to see the high-speed Internet offering. Before the end of the year, it will decide which of its nine pre-announced areas it will commence building its network in. The process involves topographical evaluation, assessment of existing infrastructure, ease of project completion, and political factors to determine if it is practical to build the network in any area.
The council estimates that Google will have to spend $300 million in the area on the buildout. Over 200 utility cabinets will have to be built on public land to support the project, and Google wants a streamlined process to locate the cabinets, which are often a contentious issue for other utilities.
As in its other fiber areas, Google will provide free service to nonprofits, and will offer 5Mbit service to residents for a one-time $300 installation fee. Google Fiber is not required to serve the entire community, like cable companies are mandated to cover. Right now, Comcast is the only major player in Portland's Internet market.