News

Google Fiber gets a green light

Ultra-high speed internet to compete with Comcast, AT&T

Over the next three years, Google will gradually bring online its ultra-high speed internet service throughout its hometown, part of an unanimously approved deal signed by the City Council on Tuesday. Hotly anticipated for years, the company's Google Fiber service promises to bring bandwidth of 1-gigabit per second, as well as phone and cable television, to Mountain View in tandem with neighboring cities, putting pressure on competing providers to offer comparable rates or risk losing the South Bay market.

As part of the Mountain View's approval on Tuesday, May 3, Google received encroachment permits to install 178 miles of new fiber-optic cables throughout town, about 45 percent of which would go underground.

Once the core infrastructure is built, the company will gradually bring online neighborhoods in a "wave throughout the community, one by one," said Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres, who identified herself as a local resident.

"I'd love to have this service at my home -- it's fast, affordable and has great customer service," she said. "In order to bring these speeds, we have to build a network from scratch."

Mountain View has a longer history than most when it comes to bringing Google Fiber to the city. Starting in 2010, the council began urging local citizens to write the company to show interest. But four years later, when the company came back with details, council members began to wonder just what they were signing up for. As part of Google Fiber service, the company said it would need expedited review and clearance to submit plans for citywide work. City officials pointed out the company was avoiding giving specifics that would be expected of any other applicants, while making no guarantees that Mountain View would even be selected.

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Mountain View Online for as little as $5/month.

Join

Google had a "take-it or leave-it" approach, as then-Councilman Jac Siegel criticized it at the time. But it was abundantly clear that plenty of other cities were eager to solicit the service. Among the publicity stunts pulled to draw Google's attention, the mayor of Duluth jumped into a freezing lake and Topeka renamed itself "Google, Kansas." One Minnesota mayor promised to name the city's first-born children after Google.

The Mountain View council voted unanimously to move the project forward.

At the Tuesday, May 3, meeting, city officials pointed out that some of their concerns from two years ago had been resolved. The company indicated it no longer needed clearance to install prefabricated network huts on leased city property throughout town, and they would instead use their own buildings. In addition, Google would need to install 4,200 underground utility "vaults" as well as up to 10 aboveground utility cabinets. That equipment would be located to minimize visual impact, said members of the city's Public Works staff. Council members were also assured that the agreement they were signing was similar to that of other South Bay cities.

Building out all this gear would still require excavation permits from the city. Wandres said Google already had agreements in place with AT&T and PG&E to use their utility poles. For the underground sections, the company will likely opt for a quicker "microtrenching" method of laying cables underground, said Public Works Director Mike Fuller. That would involve using a saw to slice through the pavement just enough to drop the fiber cable down.

Among the public commenters, Mountain View resident Wayne Holcombe asked why Google Fiber was building out individual cables rather than trying to link homes through local wireless hubs. He pointed out Google executives had mentioned in recent news stories they were testing out improved wireless technology for areas where it wasn't financially sensible to lay cables. It seemed like Google was pulling a similar trick to Comcast, he said, by charging individual homes for large data bandwidth that surpassed what they could reasonably consume.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox in our Express newsletter.

"I'm for the Fiber backbone -- that needs to be installed first -- but maybe three years from now we'll discover that Google wants to push a wireless system," he said.

Asked by the council to address this, Wandres confirmed that Google was researching this technology but she indicated it would be a long way off.

"Our goal is to bring ultra-high speed internet to residents right now, and the best way to do that is through a wired connection," she said.

In other cities already outfitted with Google Fiber, the cost to subscribe is $70 per month for 1-gigabit service and $130 per month for similar internet service with cable television. A cheaper $50-per-month plan would deliver 100-megabits per second.

For low-income families, Wandres said the company would partner with government agencies and nonprofits to offer affordable Internet service.

For the most part, city officials described the expansion of Google Fiber to Mountain View as a net gain.

"It's great to have our home company Google here, rolling out one of their public products," said Councilman Chris Clark. "But the real element, if you look at the data, (is) the introduction of a little competition changes things; the prices for a gigabit of speed drops dramatically."

Now with the city's go-ahead, Google would begin a series of public outreach efforts, including a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline for residents' concerns. Residents would be notified when construction is set to occur nearby through social media and door hangers

Mountain View is not alone among South Bay cities signing up for the Google Fiber. San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have signed similar encroachment permits while Palo Alto is still considering the project.

Full construction of the fiber-optic network is expected to take three years.

This article was edited to correct inaccurate information from a source on Google Fiber's pricing.

A front row seat to local high school sports.

Check out our new newsletter, the Playbook.

Follow Mountain View Voice Online on Twitter @mvvoice, Facebook and on Instagram @mvvoice for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Google Fiber gets a green light

Ultra-high speed internet to compete with Comcast, AT&T

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, May 4, 2016, 2:23 pm

Over the next three years, Google will gradually bring online its ultra-high speed internet service throughout its hometown, part of an unanimously approved deal signed by the City Council on Tuesday. Hotly anticipated for years, the company's Google Fiber service promises to bring bandwidth of 1-gigabit per second, as well as phone and cable television, to Mountain View in tandem with neighboring cities, putting pressure on competing providers to offer comparable rates or risk losing the South Bay market.

As part of the Mountain View's approval on Tuesday, May 3, Google received encroachment permits to install 178 miles of new fiber-optic cables throughout town, about 45 percent of which would go underground.

Once the core infrastructure is built, the company will gradually bring online neighborhoods in a "wave throughout the community, one by one," said Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres, who identified herself as a local resident.

"I'd love to have this service at my home -- it's fast, affordable and has great customer service," she said. "In order to bring these speeds, we have to build a network from scratch."

Mountain View has a longer history than most when it comes to bringing Google Fiber to the city. Starting in 2010, the council began urging local citizens to write the company to show interest. But four years later, when the company came back with details, council members began to wonder just what they were signing up for. As part of Google Fiber service, the company said it would need expedited review and clearance to submit plans for citywide work. City officials pointed out the company was avoiding giving specifics that would be expected of any other applicants, while making no guarantees that Mountain View would even be selected.

Google had a "take-it or leave-it" approach, as then-Councilman Jac Siegel criticized it at the time. But it was abundantly clear that plenty of other cities were eager to solicit the service. Among the publicity stunts pulled to draw Google's attention, the mayor of Duluth jumped into a freezing lake and Topeka renamed itself "Google, Kansas." One Minnesota mayor promised to name the city's first-born children after Google.

The Mountain View council voted unanimously to move the project forward.

At the Tuesday, May 3, meeting, city officials pointed out that some of their concerns from two years ago had been resolved. The company indicated it no longer needed clearance to install prefabricated network huts on leased city property throughout town, and they would instead use their own buildings. In addition, Google would need to install 4,200 underground utility "vaults" as well as up to 10 aboveground utility cabinets. That equipment would be located to minimize visual impact, said members of the city's Public Works staff. Council members were also assured that the agreement they were signing was similar to that of other South Bay cities.

Building out all this gear would still require excavation permits from the city. Wandres said Google already had agreements in place with AT&T and PG&E to use their utility poles. For the underground sections, the company will likely opt for a quicker "microtrenching" method of laying cables underground, said Public Works Director Mike Fuller. That would involve using a saw to slice through the pavement just enough to drop the fiber cable down.

Among the public commenters, Mountain View resident Wayne Holcombe asked why Google Fiber was building out individual cables rather than trying to link homes through local wireless hubs. He pointed out Google executives had mentioned in recent news stories they were testing out improved wireless technology for areas where it wasn't financially sensible to lay cables. It seemed like Google was pulling a similar trick to Comcast, he said, by charging individual homes for large data bandwidth that surpassed what they could reasonably consume.

"I'm for the Fiber backbone -- that needs to be installed first -- but maybe three years from now we'll discover that Google wants to push a wireless system," he said.

Asked by the council to address this, Wandres confirmed that Google was researching this technology but she indicated it would be a long way off.

"Our goal is to bring ultra-high speed internet to residents right now, and the best way to do that is through a wired connection," she said.

In other cities already outfitted with Google Fiber, the cost to subscribe is $70 per month for 1-gigabit service and $130 per month for similar internet service with cable television. A cheaper $50-per-month plan would deliver 100-megabits per second.

For low-income families, Wandres said the company would partner with government agencies and nonprofits to offer affordable Internet service.

For the most part, city officials described the expansion of Google Fiber to Mountain View as a net gain.

"It's great to have our home company Google here, rolling out one of their public products," said Councilman Chris Clark. "But the real element, if you look at the data, (is) the introduction of a little competition changes things; the prices for a gigabit of speed drops dramatically."

Now with the city's go-ahead, Google would begin a series of public outreach efforts, including a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline for residents' concerns. Residents would be notified when construction is set to occur nearby through social media and door hangers

Mountain View is not alone among South Bay cities signing up for the Google Fiber. San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have signed similar encroachment permits while Palo Alto is still considering the project.

Full construction of the fiber-optic network is expected to take three years.

This article was edited to correct inaccurate information from a source on Google Fiber's pricing.

Comments

StuArt
Jackson Park
on May 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm
StuArt, Jackson Park
on May 4, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Hallelujer! Wait...3 years??? I'll be forced out of my $3,500 one bedroom apartment off California Ave. by then.


Williaml Hitchens
Waverly Park
on May 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm
Williaml Hitchens, Waverly Park
on May 4, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Google should scrap the plans for any local wireless hubs and go entirely with a 1 GHz "last mile" fiber optic cable network. Google's fateful experiment with free Google WiFi was a disaster from its inception due to grossly insufficient bandwidth to meet existing demand. And that was almost 10 years ago when demand was far less than it is now due to streaming video, etc.


1Gbps
Rengstorff Park
on May 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm
1Gbps, Rengstorff Park
on May 4, 2016 at 4:37 pm

It's 1 gigabit per second, not 1 gigabyte per second. Network bandwidth is measured in bits but everything else is bytes.


Mark Noack
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm
Mark Noack, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 4, 2016 at 5:31 pm

@1 Gbps

Thanks for the good catch!

-- Mark


Bits vs Bytes
Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm
Bits vs Bytes, Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 6:57 pm

I love how there's one curmudgeon who's asking about using wireless instead. Remember Google tried that already, installing the wireless routers on the light poles in town. The issue wasn't that the bandwidth was too low it was the coverage was insufficient. People had to buy antennas and even that didn't work for many people. That's a lower bandwidth solution even if it worked. For many people apparently it didn't.

"Google might charge individual homes for large data bandwidth that surpassed what they could reasonably consume."
That's not what's happening. No. Just no. Put your spaceship in "R" and come back to Earth. You still have Comcast or whatever you had before. No one is forcing you to give up your current Internet solution. It's just one more option that you can take or ignore.


Call Center
Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm
Call Center, Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm

If you think Comcast has bad customer service, just wait until you try to call google! Google is notorious for never answering phone calls for customer support. Their so called "24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline" is not to be believed.


Mr Optimism
Monta Loma
on May 4, 2016 at 9:28 pm
Mr Optimism , Monta Loma
on May 4, 2016 at 9:28 pm

I'm thrilled! I felt slighted when they announced their 2nd round of cities to get Google Fiber and their own town of Mountain View wasn't on the list! I grew up here, moved away, and am just moving back. Perfect timing!


SG
Gemello
on May 5, 2016 at 6:57 am
SG, Gemello
on May 5, 2016 at 6:57 am

AT&T came through our neighborhood earlier this year installing fiber optic cables. Interesting timing.


Molly Bierman
another community
on May 5, 2016 at 10:21 am
Molly Bierman, another community
on May 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

"In other cities already outfitted with Google Fiber, the cost to subscribe is $100 per month for 1-gigabit service and $130 per month for similar internet service with cable television. A cheaper $50-per-month plan would deliver 100-megabits per second."

Google Fiber's monthly price for 1 Gbps service is $70/month for residential customers in other markets ($100 for small businesses), not $100.


dollarbin
Registered user
Monta Loma
on May 5, 2016 at 10:47 am
dollarbin, Monta Loma
Registered user
on May 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

Seems like we're one more baby step closer, but I'm wondering why we haven't had any official announcement from Google Fiber itself. As much as I'm looking forward to the day I call up Comcast to tell them where they can stick it, my enthusiasm is tempered until I hear more solid timelines than "three years".


@Call Center
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 10:49 am
@Call Center, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 10:49 am

Tell me what the number was that you called. I bet you're wrong or repeating stuff without evidence(do you even have a number to share?).
Also, since most all calls go into a phone tree, how is it that a phone tree does not answer? I detect shenanigans.


Mark Noack
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm
Mark Noack, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

@ Molly Bierman

You may be right. Just so you know, we pulled those pricing numbers from the city staff report:

Web Link


mom
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm
mom, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm

In Boston and Provo, the basic fiber internet is $0 per month. Hope Google will offer the same deal here.

Web Link


mom
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm
mom, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

Oops - looks like the basic internet offered in Boston and Provo is NOT fiber. But free is always nice...


@StuArt
Bailey Park
on May 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm
@StuArt, Bailey Park
on May 5, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Take a look at craigslist, there is a lot of cheaper 2 bedrooms than what you are paying for 1 bedroom.

$2655 / 2br - Corner 2 Bedroom Apt. w/ Balcony & Garage Prkg. - $300 Off 1st Month (mountain view)

May 4 OPEN AND AIRY APARTMENT HOMES ON QUIET TREE-LINED STREET $2665 / 2br - (sunnyvale) pic map
May 3 Very Nice, Large extra living room, All Hardwood floors $2490 / 2br - 1000ft2 - (cupertino) pic map
May 4 The Studio you've been waiting for here at Woodland Park Apartments! $1835 / 506ft2 - pic map


the_punnisher
Registered user
Whisman Station
on May 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm
the_punnisher, Whisman Station
Registered user
on May 6, 2016 at 8:20 pm

I did F/O installations at Cray Research. The technology for laying F/O cable has improved since then. You used to have connection vaults every 150 feet. I saw F/O cable being laid along I-70 ( Probably for the supercomputer farm of Clapper's 25 miles outside SLC ). Cable was laid in the way oil wells have been doing for years; Actual direction allowed curves and even 90 degree bends. The actual cable is fault tolerant and takes bends easier. For High Speed Backbone F/O, you could have underground vaults MILES apart.
When I was back there, yes, I had to do a Google WiFi installation. At home, Google WiFi was slooow and I never used it unless power was out and I had a laptop with it's battery.

The real problem: Most of my area of Mountain View has 50 year old wiring on POTS. I upgraded my parents service entrance and installed internal wiring in their house. We started to have my DSL and phone service go out. Two phone techs tried to blame my setup for the outages ( I'm a networking expert ) and I had to bar the 3rd tech from my parent's house and say " Check YOUR wiring FIRST! " After he took readings, the next day ( it was raining ) a bucket truck replaced THEIR wires from the service entrance ( modular with POTS ( you can add F/O terminations by changing modules ) to the 50 year old wiring on the telephone pole.

I hope Google offers special POTS along with High Speed Internet with Streaming video. That replaces that 50 year old telephone lines!

Pots: Plain Old Telephone Service


Uh-huh
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 7, 2016 at 4:53 am
Uh-huh, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 7, 2016 at 4:53 am

I wonder if Google has any networking experts involved in this. Maybe you should help Punnisher. I bet Google is really scratching their collective heads over this one. They probably NEVER thought about any of the details of this project.


Googler
Bailey Park
on May 7, 2016 at 7:00 am
Googler, Bailey Park
on May 7, 2016 at 7:00 am

What's a telephone? This is going to involve digging, drilling? Are those forms of manual labor? What are parents? I don't know anyone or own anything more than 50 years old!


Another Googler
Blossom Valley
on May 7, 2016 at 8:10 am
Another Googler, Blossom Valley
on May 7, 2016 at 8:10 am

I made such bad life choices that I got a masters in computer science and hired into an astoundingly good job. I guess that makes me bad. I am also an Elk, a classroom volunteer 1 x per week, coach soccer and am a community volunteer for local cleanup activities including creek cleanups and graffiti abatement. I am a generous contributor to the MV educational fund and a member of the PTA. I know what parents are because I'm caring for them as they age, which could be a full time job in and of itself.

Go ahead and wish jerks like me out of your community. Sorry for messing it up for you. Better yet, why don't you qualify yourself for being here.


mike
Rex Manor
on Jul 16, 2016 at 8:40 am
mike, Rex Manor
on Jul 16, 2016 at 8:40 am

3 years? that bytes.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.