Google Fiber is still coming to nine cities in metro Atlanta – but not anytime soon.
In January, 2015, Google Fiber announced that they were bringing gigabit internet speed to nine metro Atlanta cities*, including Smyrna, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, Decatur, Avondale Estates, Hapeville, East Point, and College Park, in addition to the City of Atlanta.
I shared the disappointing news with my constituents this morning, and no doubt my colleagues in other cities will soon share the same unpalatable task. The TL;DR version of the situation is that the Google Fiber construction project is a large, complicated infrastructure project, and they encountered more challenges than they expected in many markets – this isn’t limited to metro Atlanta. Google initially planned to utilize existing infrastructure, including utility poles and underground conduits, where they hoped to colocate with existing utilities. While all the city planning departments involved in the process made relatively quick work of their end of infrastructure planning and permitting, it has been a different situation with other utilities.
In most of the Google Fiber cities, the most visible reminders of the delays are the fiber huts that are a core component of the Google Fiber infrastructure. I drive by one every day – in Smyrna, we have three huts that are all on City property. Google Fiber was clear that they intend to use these huts, as they still have every intent to – eventually – roll their service out to the public. But for now, their only service will be what is already available in a few multifamily buildings closest to the backbone of their existing infrastructure in Atlanta.
*I stand by my original assertion that the collaboration between these cities and Google Fiber is a solid example of how metro Atlanta’s many municipalities can combine forces on issues like transit.