Google Fiber superfast Internet service may come to Chicago – Chicago Tribune
Google Fiber said Tuesday it was eyeing expansion of its superfast Internet service to Chicago and Los Angeles.
In a company blog post, Jill Szuchmacher, director of Google Fiber expansion, said the company will work with city leaders to collect information and study factors that could affect construction of such a network.
The company says its service offers speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second and is already live in Kansas City, Mo.; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. Pricing for Google Fiber in Kansas City begins at $70 for 1 gigabit per second broadband service and costs $130 with the addition of TV service. Szuchmacher said it was too early to estimate what pricing would be in Chicago.
At such speeds, the company says, a customer could download a high-definition movie in about 7 seconds.
Comcast’s 2 Gbps Gigabit Pro Internet service is available to 2.4 million homes in the region for $299.95 a month, according to the company. AT&T offers its GigaPower network with speeds up to 1 Gbps for $110 in Chicago.
The statewide average broadband speed in Illinois is 31.2 Mbps, according to data from BroadbandNow, a comparison and research website.
Google will kick off discussions with city staff Tuesday afternoon, Szuchmacher told Blue Sky.
Google has created a detailed checklist to help city officials understand what it means to have a “very, very large-scale build going on (within) city limits,” Szuchmacher said.
The planning process could take months, she said. After kicking off the discussion process with nine cities in February 2014, she said, six decided to let Google move ahead with construction.
Chicago is among eleven other cities considered as potential Google Fiber hosts. A city spokesman said the process was in the “very early stages” and that Google was working with the mayor’s office on general issues.
“While we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to bring Fiber to Chicago and L.A., this is a big step for these cities and their leaders,” Szuchmacher said in the post.
Chicago’s incubators, venture capital firms, and the mayor’s interest in innovation and promoting tech jobs made Google Fiber interested in pursuing the installation here, Szuchmacher said.
“That’s the kind of excitement and intellectual curiosity and drive we think (signals) a great type of city and community that will really welcome us,” she said.
She said faster Internet speeds also could help lure tech talent to Chicago.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed, saying in a statement that Google Fiber service would be “a key ingredient for job growth.”