While Google started as a lowly search engine, the company has evolved into an email service, online shopping, and even a Facebook-competitor in Google+. Now the company is pushing further and is revolutionizing internet service. Google Fiber is reported to run a hundred times faster than regular broadband connections, and runs through fiber-optic cables instead of traditional copper cables. Google Fiber is in place in three lucky American cities: Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri, Provo, Utah, and Austin, Texas. More importantly for the students at Vanderbilt University Law School, Nashville is on the Google shortlist for expansion. Nashville is competing with thirty-four cities in nine metro areas for the much anticipated, high-speed internet. In each area, the city is asked to complete a check-list and begin a detailed city study to determine costs and timelines for implementation of the plans. More recently, in late November, Google applied for a franchise authority certificate in Tennessee.

Nashville is not the only Tennessee city to be on the forefront of fiber-optic technology (assuming, of course, the city is successful in its Google Fiber bid). Chattanooga, 150 miles southeast of Nashville, boasts an impressive fiber-optic network. The city upgraded to a fiber-optic network that offers speeds up to 1000 megabits per second a few years ago through its publicly owned electric utility. The service far outstrips the average U.S. connection of 9.8 megabits per second in late 2013.

Nashville’s bid to join its fellow Tennesseean city in high-speed internet is not guaranteed to win over Google Fiber. For example, Google will look at the infrastructure of the city and local complexities in determining its expansion. In Austin, Texas, Google wanted access to utility poles to minimize the disruption to residents, and had to reach an agreement with AT&T (a major competitor, no less) to use the poles. In Nashville, the Nashville Electric Service owns the largest number of utility poles, but AT&T is the second-largest owner. NES spokeswoman has already stated the company is “excited about the possibility of working with Google,” so residents may need to hope that’s enough for the tech giant. As the Federal Communications Commission debates whether local “municipalities can bypass state laws to provide their own internet service” over the next month, Nashville is still in the running to be ushered into the fiber-optic future with Google.

Torrey Samson

4 Responses to Google Fiber Considers Expansion to Nine New Metro Areas

  1. Daniel Rheiner says:

    It will be very interesting to see how this issue progresses now that Google has officially selected Nashville. I agree with Doruk that Comcast may not be pleased to have to compete with an internet provider that has the potential to offer better service at a lower price.

  2. Wayman Stodart says:

    It is specifically exciting to see the expansion of Google fiber with the ongoing battle over common carrier status, internet fast lanes, and the “open internet.” Even if simply in the role of an alternative ISP, Google fiber represents competition for other providers and increased options for consumers to use in making their opinions on the open web clear to large data providers.

  3. Doruk Onvural says:

    Can you imagine high-speed internet in every public school in the state? I can’t wait to see how Comcast and the FCC respond.

  4. William Roberts says:

    I personally think Google’s expansion into new cities is good for not only their company, but for consumers as well. The increase in competition could only put pressure on other providers to make their product not only better, but cheaper as well. Hopefully we will see what becomes of this in the near future.