Gigabit Internet service from Google’s new parent company Alphabet could be on its way to two of America’s largest cities.
The tech giant invited Chicago and Los Angeles to explore bringing the company’s Google Fiber offering to their cities Tuesday.
“Home to a combined 6+ million people, Chicago and L.A. are the two largest metros we’ve engaged with to date,” Jill Szuchmacher, Google Fiber’s director of expansion, said in a statement. “With the help of gigabit Internet, Chicago and L.A. can boost their creative cultures with Internet speed to match their size.”
If selected, Chicago and Los Angeles would join 11 other metropolitan areas working with the tech company to expand gigabit-speed fiber optic Internet. But the candidate cities still must meet Google’s data, infrastructure access, permitting and construction requirements to qualify for the program.
“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. “Planning for a project of this size is a huge undertaking.”
As the Fiber checklist requirements process moves forward, Google Fiber will “work closely with city leaders to collect detailed information” about each area, according to Szuchmacher.
Also this week, AT&T launched its 1Gbps GigaPower fiber optic broadband service in Los Angeles and announced plans to expand its lightning-fast service to more markets. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that faster, more accessible Internet would be a boon for that city.
“Expanding, improving and strengthening Internet access throughout Los Angeles is vital to further accelerating L.A.’s economic growth — and affordable service is essential to erasing the digital divide that leaves too many people without the tools to maximize potential in the 21st century,” he said.
In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in an emailed statement that high speed broadband Internet is a “key ingredient” for job growth in the city, and the “foundation” for a stronger economy.
“Google Fiber would be the latest milestone in our work to make Chicago the most connected city in the nation,” Emanuel said.
Three cities already have Google Fiber service: Austin, Texas; Kansas City, Missouri; and Provo, Utah. Six cities — Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta; Nashville; San Antonio; and Salt Lake City — were selected earlier this year to receive Google Fiber by the end of 2016.