Google Fiber could make Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte next 1 Gbps stop

Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) is expected to announce that Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte, N.C., are going to be the next cities to get its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service, with network buildout beginning as early as April, according to a WRAL TechWire report.

Sources told WRAL TechWire that they have sent out a "Save the Date" event scheduled for Jan. 28 and 29 to local media and officials from both cities. However, Google did not say what the events were about.

One anonymous source said that Google Fiber is looking for bids from local construction companies, including "drill crews" to lay the fiber.

The service provider has been holding discussions with local government representatives in Raleigh and Cary over rights-of-way access to utility poles and other local infrastructure and obtaining zoning to place "fiber huts" that would house the network equipment to deliver service to customers.

Google Fiber's expansion plans have been in limbo since December when it announced it was delaying where it will extend its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) data and video services next. At that time it said it would not make any decisions until early this year. The service provider announced in February an ambitious plan to see how it could expand its service into nine metro markets and up to 34 cities.

If Google does move forward with its plans, it will face off against AT&T (NYSE: T), which has hatched an even more aggressive initiative to bring 1 Gbps services to 100 of what it calls candidate cities and municipalities nationwide, including 21 new major metropolitan areas.

In North Carolina, AT&T is in the process of building out the North Carolina Next Generation Network (NCNGN), a regional initiative focused on stimulating the deployment of next generation networks to North Carolina, to deliver its U-verse GigaPower offering to six communities, including Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh and Winston-Salem. This plan came after its initial move to launch the FTTH service in Austin, Texas, last year, a market where Google is rolling out a similar service.

For more:
- WRAL has this article

Special report: Gigabit Wars: The best prices for 1 Gbps service from ILECs, MSOs and municipal providers

Related articles:
Google Fiber puts 1-Gig network expansion decision on hold
Google Fiber drives even more telcos, cable companies to the 1 Gbps game
Google Fiber targets 34 more cities as potential FTTH recipients
Google mulls how wireless could complement its 1 Gbps fiber service

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