Report: Google Fiber to roll out 1 Gbps service in four Southeast cities

Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) is going to bring its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service to four new metro areas, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing two people close to the issue.

Over the next few days, the service provider is going to announce plans to bring FTTH service to Atlanta, Nashville, and Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

Speculation about an impending launch in these cities has risen over the past few days after Google Fiber sent invitations to local news organizations in the four aforementioned cities to attend events this week, without identifying the nature of the event. According to local news reports, the Internet search giant planned events for Atlanta and Nashville for Tuesday, Raleigh and Charlotte on Wednesday and Durham on Thursday.

Lauren Barriere, a spokeswoman for Google Fiber, told FierceTelecom in an e-mail that they are going to bring their fiber-based broadband service to 18 new cities across four new metro areas, all in the Southeast US: Atlanta, GA, Charlotte, NC, Nashville, TN, and Raleigh-Durham, NC. 

The service provider announced in February 2014 an ambitious plan to see how it could expand its service into nine metro markets and up to 34 cities. However, those plans were put on hold in December when Google said it was delaying an announcement about where it will extend its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) data and video services next. 

A key deciding factor in where Google Fiber brings its service is its ability to gain access to rights-of-way to house the fiber huts for network electronics that are used to deliver services to consumers. While the company was granted a franchise in Portland, Ore., last June, the state's tax-assessment rules are delaying a decision to launch service in the city.

Google Fiber is also still considering bringing service to other cities, including Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Phoenix and San Jose. The company has told officials in those cities that they have not been ruled out completely, but it has not made a final decision whether to include them in the final buildout plans.

"We're also continuing to explore bringing fiber to five additional metro areas—Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose, and will have updates on these potential Fiber cities later this year," wrote Dennis Kish, Vice President, Google Fiber, in a blog post.

For more:
- WSJ has this article

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

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

This article was updated on Jan. 27 with additional information from Google Fiber.