Google's high-speed fiber network to land in Salt Lake City

The 1-gigabit-per-second Internet and TV service sets its sights on an eighth US metro area.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Salt Lake City is among five metro areas targeted for the next rounds of Google Fiber. Google

Salt Lake City is now on the list to get a taste of Google's all-fiber network for super high-speed Internet and TV services.

The Utah city joins Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn., as the next metro regions in line, Devin Baer, Google Fiber's associate city manager for Salt Lake City, said in a blog post Tuesday.

Kansas City, Kan., Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, were the first cities to get Google Fiber over the past three years.

Residents in the next cities in line won't suddenly be able to tap into Google Fiber tomorrow. Instead, Google has kicked off the long process of building out its high-speed network so those cities can experience it down the road.

At 1 gigabit per second -- or 1,000 megabits per second -- Google Fiber is blazingly faster than the average Internet connection. According to broadband tester Ookla, the average broadband speed in the US is 34 megabits per second.

Google Fiber is the company's attempt to shake up Internet access in the United States, which Ookla ranks 27th across the world in terms of Internet speeds. Google's goal is to create faster Internet performance for consumers and businesses -- and ultimately to boost its profits. Google also hopes the service will spur innovation among people who find unique ways to use the high-speed network.

"During my time working in Provo, I've seen the impact of Google Fiber firsthand," Baer said. "Hackers from across the country have gathered at DevMountain to develop new web and mobile applications; the United Way of Utah County has promoted new digital literacy programs throughout the community; and one organization, called Now I Can, has used Google Fiber to remotely connect parents with their children undergoing intensive physical therapy in Provo."

Here is Google's current road map for Fiber. Google

Choosing the cities and creating the necessary technology and infrastructure for Google Fiber is a slow process, however. The service in Kansas City, Austin and Provo is only in neighborhoods that express a collective interest in the high-speed option.

Following an announcement of a new city, Google has taken around a year to turn on the tap for its fiber network. So Salt Lake City residents eligible for the service may be able to access it in 2016.

Google's webpage on the Salt Lake City rollout paints a useful picture of the various phases involved. After exploring and reviewing a city to ensure it can support the network, Google then designs the network itself. The actual construction of the network follows. Google then targets the areas in the city where people or businesses request fiber access.

"We build the fiber network in areas where people want it," Google said. "Cities are divided into small communities we call fiberhoods. You can get Fiber if enough people in your fiberhood show interest."

Finally, Google installs the actual service in homes and businesses that sign up for it. Google Fiber service costs $70 per month for gigabit Internet access and $120 to $130 a month for both Internet and TV with more than 150 channels.

"It will take some time before we begin signups and installations in Salt Lake City," a Google spokesperson told CNET. "We estimate it will take several months of planning our network before we start construction. We will keep the city updated along the way."

The company is also eyeing four other potential markets for its high-speed network.

"We're continuing to explore bringing fiber to four additional metro areas -- Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, and San Jose -- and will have updates on these potential Fiber cities later this year," the spokesperson said. "All of the cities are making great progress and we're grateful for their hard work. Residents can go to our website to sign up and be among the first to know when we have an update."

Correction, 10:50 a.m. PT: The comparative speed of Google Fiber to average broadband has been fixed.