Google to use existing fiber to roll out 1 Gbps services in San Francisco in challenge to AT&T, Comcast

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced it will use existing fiber to roll out its Internet service to "some apartments, condos and affordable housing properties" in San Francisco, the 22nd metro area where Google Fiber is landing. Google Fiber will run up against Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), AT&T (NYSE: T), Webpass, Monkeybrains and other existing Internet service providers in San Francisco.

"By using existing fiber to connect some apartments and condos, as we've done before, we can bring service to residents more quickly," Google said in a blog post announcing the news. "This approach will allow us to serve a portion of San Francisco, complementing the City's ongoing efforts to bring abundant, high-speed Internet to the City by the Bay."

Google didn't immediately answer questions on which company or entity currently owns the existing fiber it may use in San Francisco. But Motherboard reported that Google is using the dark fiber network the city of San Francisco has been deploying for more than a decade. The publication noted that, according to the San Francisco city government, there are at least 140 miles of dark fiber running underneath the city's streets, and more than 256 municipal buildings have been connected.

However, the WSJ reported that a San Francisco spokesman said that the city doesn't own the fiber, and that Google won't need regulatory approval from the city for its venture.

In San Francisco, Google added that it will also work to connect some public and affordable housing properties to its service for free. "In partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we're also bringing the Digital Inclusion Fellowship to San Francisco," Google said. "NTEN is accepting applications from organizations to host fellows who will teach people to set up email accounts, apply for jobs, access content across the web, and more. Through these efforts, we hope to make the Internet more affordable and accessible for those most affected by the digital divide."

As Google noted, it has leveraged existing fiber before. In Huntsville, Ala., Huntsville Utilities will lease its planned dark fiber network to Google Fiber for the carrier's rollout there, where Google Fiber will be competing against AT&T and Comcast. As Cnet reported, Google Fiber travels over a network the company bought from Provo, Utah, for its service there. Google also uses existing fiber in its service in Atlanta.

Although it remains unclear exactly which companies and vendors Google might be working with on its Google Fiber rollouts, Wells Fargo said that network installation company Dycom Industries might be one of Google's partners. Wells Fargo recently said that Google Fiber is likely one of Dycom's top five customers, contributing roughly $112 million to Dycom's revenue in 2015.

For more:
- see this Google post
- see this WSJ article
- see this Motherboard article
- see this Cnet article

Related articles:
Google Fiber joins AT&T, Comcast in Huntsville, Ala.'s 1 Gbps party
AT&T enhances 1 Gig presence in Nashville, raises stakes against Comcast, Google Fiber
Comcast attacks Google Fiber in Atlanta, tells consumers, 'Don't fall for the hype'

Article updated Feb. 26 to include information about the city's fiber.