Google Inc (GOOG): Fiber gains approval from Portland City Council

Posted Jun 15, 2014

The Portland commissioners voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve of Google Fiber. Google will decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with the installation of the service in Portland and five suburbs: Gresham, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Beaverton and Hillsboro. Google is also evaluation local regulations, access to utility poles, and regional topography to determine whether the network is feasible.

“It is such a good fit with who we are and who we will be in this city,” stated Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Mary Beth Henry, head of Portland’s Office for Community Technology, said that the city is expecting Google will spend at least $300 million in Portland to build the network.

Google Fiber offers gigabit speeds, which is around 100 times faster than current broadcast connections. It also offers a cable TV package.

Google and the city of Portland have an agreement that exempts Google from a 3% PEG fee that the city charges Comcast. This money will be used to cover the cost of public access, educational, and governmental programming on cable TV. Google pledges to provide free Internet service to unspecified nonprofits and up to 3 free outdoor WiFi networks in unspecified areas of the city.

Google Fiber will have to reach licensing agreements with Portland utility pole owners like Portland General Electric and CenturyLink.

The $300 million figure that was mentioned above was mentioned in a prerecorded testimony. It would be a firm commitment of Google’s minimum investment in the Portland network if it decides to proceed. The dollar figure is an estimate by the city’s staff and was not provided by Google.

[Source: Oregon Live]