Portland could be one of the first U.S. cities to get Google Fiber broadband cable and Internet service, Mayor Charlie Hales and Google emissaries announced this morning at City Hall. The system could be installed as early as 2015.
Google advertises that the service will offer Internet speeds of 1,000 Megabits—about a hundred times faster than current basic broadband providers.
Thirty-four cities in nine different metropolitan areas are being considered overall, including Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro. Google officials and mayoral staffers both explained that all nine metro areas on the shortlist could qualify for the broadband network.
"It's not an Amazing Race-type thing," says Gail Shibley, Hales' chief of staff.
Kansas City, Miss., Provo, Utah and Austin, Tex., already have Google Fiber systems under construction. The plans in those cities offer free 5 Megabit Internet service after a $300 construction fee, or 1,000 Megabit internet service for $70 a month.
Portland officials were in a buoyant mood at today's press conference. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz brought out a bottle of wine. Hales expressed confidence the Portland metro area would meet Google's specifications.
"We've got 'cool' covered," Hales says.
WW staff writer Aaron Mesh contributed to this story.