Turbocharged Internet: Charlotte could get Google Fiber

Credit: Google

This map from Google shows the nine metro areas, and 34 cities, that could get a high-speed Internet network known as Google Fiber.




Posted on February 20, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 7:21 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte is one of nine metro areas that could get Google Fiber, an Internet network with speeds 100 times faster than what most providers offer today.

Google made the announcement Wednesday in a blog post. The company says it'll be working with city leaders in each of those nine cities to figure out what such a network would look like, and what challenges it would face in setting it up. Google says it plans to provide updates on which cities will get Google Fiber, and which ones won't, by the end of the year.

“The Internet has literally rewired how we work and live, and it still has so much potential,” said Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon in a statement. “Faster internet speeds drive innovation and have been linked to economic development.  We look forward to exploring the possibilities when the Google Fiber Team visits in a few weeks.” Google is asking interested cities to complete a checklist, which can include maps of telephone poles, water, gas and sewer lines and so on. Google also asks cities to "streamline processes (e.g. permitting procedures and access to local infrastructure) to make it easier for a construction process of this scale to move quickly." The checklist is due to Google May 1.

The mayor's office says the average American broadband speed is 9.8 Megabits per second, while Google Fiber's "Gigabit" speeds could be 1,000 Megabits per second.

Google's fiber-optic network first launched in Kansas City in 2012, and has since expanded to Austin and Provo, Utah. More than 1,000 cities, including Concord, Hickory, Lenoir and Kannapolis, applied to Google to be among the first cities to get the network. Charlotte was not among them.

UPDATE (4:03 p.m.): Here's a NC Department of Commerce map of broadband coverage in North Carolina, as of June 2013. Blue areas are covered by cable, brown areas are covered by fiber:

UPDATE (4:22 p.m.): More charts! Akakai, in its State of the Internet Report, tracked average connection speeds from 2007 through 2013. North Carolina's speeds went up over those six years:

But, those increases and speeds largely mirrored the national average, and they're nothing compared to the speeds South Koreans get: