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Google us – Avondale, Decatur on internet giant’s short list

Avondale Estates Decatur Metro ATL

Google us – Avondale, Decatur on internet giant’s short list

Decatur City Hall.


Exciting news today from Google.

The internet search giant has announced that eight cities in the Atlanta area are on the company’s short list for Google Fiber, a high speed internet service faster than anything else in metro ATL. Those eight cities are among 34 in the country that the company is considering.

Avondale Estates and Decatur both made the list, as did Brookhaven.

“There continues to be huge interest from consumers and communities in faster broadband,” the company said in an announcement posted on the Google Fiber website. “That’s why we want to bring more people access to Google Fiber — Internet that’s up to 100 times faster than basic broadband. We’ve started early discussions with 34 cities in nine metro areas around the United States to explore what it would take to bring a new fiber-optic network to their community.”

Here all the metro Atlanta cities on Google’s short list:

  • Avondale Estates
  • Brookhaven
  • College Park
  • Decatur
  • East Point
  • Hapeville
  • Sandy Springs
  • Smyrna

Mayors in both Avondale Estates and Decatur hailed the news as a chance to grow their local economies.

“We are excited to be working with Google Fiber to potentially bring ultra-high-speed Internet access to Avondale Estates,” Avondale Estates Mayor Rieker said in a press release. “Implementing abundant, high-speed broadband access will encourage economic development and allow the City to become a test bed for new technology and ideas that have the potential to improve our daily lives.”

“The City of Decatur is proud to be on Google’s short list,” Decatur Mayor Jim Baskett said in a press release. “Decatur is known for being forward thinking in our commitment to sustainable, long-term planning. We now have the opportunity to demonstrate that we are fiber ready and future ready. Our entire community of homes, schools and places of worship would benefit from Google Fiber’s unbelievably fast internet speeds, in ways we can’t even imagine. We look forward to Google’s building the infrastructure for this technological investment in our community.”

According to the release, average American broadband speed is 9.8 megabits per second. Google Fiber could bring Avondale Estates and Decatur residents access to “Gigabit” Internet connections up to 1,000 Megabits per second, the press release said.

Both cities indicated their interest in being considered for the new service. Decatur and Avondale Estates partnered with other cities in the metro area to increase their chances of being selected.

Avondale Estates spokeswoman Kelly Brooks said the cities are not rivals for the fiber service.

“As a communications rep explained it to me, it’s not a competition,” she said. “It depends on whether a city successfully completes the Google Fiber checklist.”

Here is a video the partnering cities produced in 2010 as part of the application process:

A Google spokesperson sent an email message saying the company isn’t pitting one city against the other.

“This isn’t a competition — we’re interested in bringing Fiber to each of these communities,” the spokesperson said. “We’re working with cities on a joint-planning process that is designed to help them understand what this sort of project would involve, so they can make sure they’re doing right by city officials and residents who would have to live with the realities and challenges (and yes, disruption) of a project of this scale. And it’s easier on everyone involved if we work together to map out and understand all possible local needs and challenges. Keep in mind that many cities haven’t seen an infrastructure project this large in decades — it’s a big job. (Analogy — you wouldn’t expect a city to apply the same process to building an auto plant as they would to building a Taco Bell.)”

Google will soon begin working with these cities to discuss how it could implement the new fiber optic service.

“Google will begin compiling a detailed study of local factors that might affect construction plans,” the press release says.

There will be an update on which cities will receive Google Fiber by the end of this year.

The Google Fiber website outlines the next two steps the company will take:

Step 1 – “We’ll provide a checklist of things for these cities to complete to help make their area ready for fiber. We’re asking cities to provide us with information that can speed up planning and construction (e.g. maps of poles, conduit, existing water, gas, and electricity lines). We also ask that they streamline processes (e.g. permitting procedures and access to local infrastructure) to make it easier for a construction process of this scale to move quickly.”

Step 2 – “At the same time, Google Fiber will begin scoping the costs and timelines for building a new fiber-optic network. Google will conduct a detailed study of factors that affect construction plans, such as topography (e.g. hills, flood zones), housing density, and the condition of local infrastructure.”

Being on the short list is no guarantee of receiving the new fiber optic service, the company says.

“While we’d love to bring Fiber to every one of these cities, it might not work out for everyone,” the company announcement said. “Cities who have worked with us through this process, however, will have taken a big step forward in making their community ready for construction by any provider.”