Oregon cities look to bypass Google Fiber by building own 1 Gbps networks

Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) may have cited Oregon as one of its potential destinations for its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, but a number of local towns are looking into potentially building a network that can provide similar services themselves.

Portland suburbs Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Gresham and West Linn are, according to a report in The Oregonian, in various stages of examining what it would take to build their own networks that could provide higher speed services to their residents and local businesses.

Today, many of Portland's suburbs have a cable operator and a telco to get broadband service and could have a third alternative if Google Fiber decides to bring service to the area.

While Google Fiber's presence could potentially shake up the Oregon broadband market, some towns like Lake Oswego are thinking they could not only do it better, but also offer a lower priced service.

"They may be a benign company but they would still be a monopoly," said Lake Oswego city manager Scott Lazenby in an article in The Oregonian. "And monopolies charge what they can."

Municipal broadband continues to be a contentious issue. In February, the FCC preempted elements of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that were designed to restrict municipal providers in those communities from providing broadband service outside of their current serving areas. 

Oregon itself has had a troubled history in trying to build municipal networks. According to The Oregonian report, municipal networks like the Ashland Fiber Network could not cover the city's buildout costs, while Sherwood's fiber network also generated large financial losses.

Google Fiber maintains that the presence of any municipal provider would not dissuade it from exploring building out service in Portland.

"Increasing local choice for super high-speed broadband is a good thing for communities," the company said in a written statement.

 For more:
- The Oregonian has this article

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