Google Fiber signs tentative agreement with Portland, Ore., but local issues will determine outcome

Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) has taken another step forward in its proposed move to bring its 1 Gbps service to Portland, Ore., by crafting a tentative franchise agreement with the city, reports The Oregonian. This is one of the first major cities where it has signed such an agreement. 

Similar to the other 34 cities that it cited as potential stops on its fiber network buildout journey, this latest accord is far from a done deal.

The service provider will have to review local regulations, topography, utility rights of way (ROW). What's more, the 10-year franchise agreement needs to be approved by city commissioners, who will review the proposal on May 7.

A key issue will be Google Fiber's placement of "network huts" on public property in parts of the city and small utility cabinets in parking strips in the city's neighborhoods. This issue came to a head in Kansas City, Mo., where residents and community groups were outraged at their placement of utility cabinets in the middle of a sidewalk.

Regardless of these issues, this marks a major step forward for the service provider.

"This franchise agreement is an important step along the path to Fiber. It gives us permission to build here, and it also outlines the ways that we'll partner with the city to invest in local infrastructure and give back to the community," said Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres in a written statement. "There's still a lot of work to do beyond this one agreement, but we hope to provide an update about whether we can bring Fiber here later this year."

In February, news emerged that the Internet search giant expressed a desire to bring its fiber to the home (FTTH) service to Portland and five other area cities, including Beaverton, Hillsboro, Gresham, Lake Oswego and Tigard.

For more:
- The Oregonian has this article

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