Google Fiber’s Salt Lake City launch highlights advantages of MDU installation

Google Fiber's map lists Salt Lake apartment complexes where its 1 Gbps service is available.

The sign-up page for Google Fiber in Salt Lake City has opened on Google’s website, indicating the official rollout of 1 Gbps FTTH in the area by the provider – and potentially, one of its last all-wireline gigabit service buildouts.

Service is currently available to residents and small businesses in an area covering about 112 blocks of downtown Salt Lake City, “100 South to 800 South between 400 West and 1300 East,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. This is the first phase of Google Fiber’s buildout: The city’s west side is prioritized for the next phase of service launches, according to the city council’s vice chairman speaking to the Tribune.

Fiber customers can choose from a range of service packages, including a 100 Mbps, $50 per month option, or 1 Gbps for $70 per month. They can add a 220-channel television package for another $140 monthly, and phone service for an additional $10. Small and medium-sized businesses can choose from three different speed options: Either 100 Mbps for $70 per month, 250 Mbps for $100 a month, or 1 Gbps for $250 per month.

Many apartment residents in Salt Lake City have a unique advantage over single-home dwellers when it comes to ordering Google Fiber service. The provider took advantage of a ramp-up in construction of MDUs in the area, and wired several new complexes while they were being built. Once tenants move in to these new units, they’ll be able to switch on service more easily than residents of single-family homes, because the wiring is already in place.

Google Fiber has a listing of ready-to-go apartment complexes on its Salt Lake City page.

Salt Lake City is Google’s seventh launch since announcing its 1 Gbps initiative in 2012, when Kansas City, Kansas (and Kansas City, Missouri) was picked as its first FTTH target. This may be one of its last all-wireline buildouts of high-speed broadband, however.

Faced with the inescapable expense of installing fiber-optic infrastructure, as well as resistance from incumbent utility providers in cities like Nashville when attempting to adjust pole-attachment rules, Google Fiber appears to be considering newer high-speed broadband technologies. The provider recently acquired WebPass, a competitive fixed wireless provider whose point-to-point connection technology costs much less to install and could deliver high speeds at a much lower cost.

Google Fiber is also looking at leased access, such as the strategy it’s employing in Huntsville, Alabama. The local utility is currently building out a dark fiber network, to which Fiber will connect in order to deliver services to homes in the city. That’s expected to go live in 2017.

In the meantime, planned buildouts in at least three California cities, as well as in Portland, Oregon, are on hold as Fiber tweaks its strategy.

For more:
- see this Google signup page
- see this Android Authority article
- see this Salt Lake Tribune article

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