The City Council in Portland, Oregon voted Wednesday to award Google Fiber a 10-year franchise agreement to offer broadband and video services and to build public Wi-Fi networks. “Google plans to invest over $300 million in permanent, state-of-the-art, fiber infrastructure in Portland. No other company has made a similar commitment,” Portland’s Community Technology Director Mary Beth Henry told the Council. This isn’t a final agreement, though. “Google plans to decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with service in Portland and five suburbs,” Oregon Live reported. “The company is evaluating local regulations, access to utility poles and regional topography to determine whether the network is technically and financially feasible.”
City commissioners in Portland, OR have voted unanimously to approve Google’s effort to provide its fiber optic Internet access in the area. Portland Mayor Charlie Hales called the product “a good fit with who we are and who we will be in this city” while voting for the city to enable the project in the area. Google hasn’t decided which area is next to see the high-speed Internet offering. Before the end of the year, it will decide which of its nine pre-announced areas it will commence building its network in. The process involves topographical evaluation, assessment of existing infrastructure, ease of project completion, and political factors to determine if its practical to build the network in any area. The council estimates that Google will have to spend $300 million in the area on the buildout. Over 200 utility cabinets will have to be built on public land to support the project, and Google wants a streamlined process to locate the cabinets, which are often a contentious issue for other utilities. As in its other fiber areas, Google will provide free service to nonprofits, and will offer 5mbit service to residents for a one-time $300 installation fee. Google Fiber is not required to serve the entire community, like cable companies are mandated to cover. Right now, Comcast is the only major player in Portland’s Internet market.