Google Fiber has begun taking customer orders for its 1 Gbps internet and video services in Raleigh, North Carolina, signaling that the service provider may be ready to move forward with its ambitious rollout plans for the state.
Coming at a time when the service provider has been realigning its FTTH rollout strategy, Google Fiber has begun connecting some of its customers in Raleigh’s North Hills/midtown area.
Erik Garr, a regional manager for Google Fiber, said in a The Triangle Business Journal report that it has already gotten a number of “advanced orders.”
“We’ve seen tremendous response in Morrisville and we expect the same tremendous response in North Hills/Midtown,” Garr said.
Garr would not provide information on how many consumers pre-ordered the service, only to say that the rollout is on track. He said further FTTH service rollouts “will all depend on how long it takes to finish North Hills/Midtown,” adding that North Hills was chosen for engineering reasons.
Google Fiber’s ambitious FTTH plans have been anything but easy.
One of the indications of the challenges Google Fiber faced surfaced in October when the service provider announced it would halt new FTTH rollouts in Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix. At that time, Google Fiber said it was laying off a number of employees.
After seeing firsthand the challenges of rolling out a Greenfield FTTH network, Google Fiber has been entertaining alternative last mile access methods, including fixed wireless.
Google Fiber acquired Webpass, a San Francisco-based ISP that offers fiber and wireless-based broadband services mainly to businesses. Webpass currently offers 500 Mbps symmetrical speeds to MDUs (multi-dwelling units) and office buildings for about $55 a month, and already has about 20,000 customers in five major U.S. cities, including San Francisco.
Earlier this week, Google Fiber said in a blog post that customers in six metro areas may be eligible to use Webpass’ broadband wireless service if their building has at least 10 units and is wired with Ethernet cabling.