Exciting news for OKC!
OKLAHOMA CITY – Google is moving forward with negotiations to bring its high-speed Internet fiber network to Oklahoma City, officials confirmed Friday.
Although installation details have not been resolved yet, City Council members have already agreed to a rezoning request to allow construction of a small building to hold the company’s fiber-optic cable interface equipment. If Google goes ahead with its plan, the hut will be built at 16820 N. Pennsylvania Ave.
The town of Cary, North Carolina, went through a similar process with Google two years ago, ultimately agreeing to lease land to the company at an annual cost of $2 per square foot, for a total charge of $4,200 to $7,000 annually for three to five network huts. Several other cities have similar leasing contracts. Google asked Phoenix, Arizona, and Portland, Oregon, for access to about 35 parcels each.
Sources familiar with the project estimated Oklahoma City will need about 10 to 15 huts spread around town to provide Internet connections at 1 gigabit per second, several times faster than the current standard for broadband service.
Google announced the fiber rollout in October, informing Oklahoma City officials that the company was considering eight other cities as well. Google did not make any commitments at the time; project director Jill Szuchmacher said her staff was interested only in evaluating municipal government processes and the resources already at hand. The targeted cities are not in competition with each other, she said.
City officials responded by setting staff to help Google in its research of locations of utilities and easements.
The same week in early April that the Oklahoma City Council considered the rezoning proposal, Google submitted a similar fiber hut request in Portland.
It takes about two years to get a new network running, if other cities’ experiences with Google are used as a guide. For example, Google announced its interest in Salt Lake City, Utah, about a year ago and is now less than a year away from launching service there.
Google has been offering free basic Internet access after installation in several markets. However, the company recently announced it was moving to a $50 monthly rate for its bottom tier of service in the Kansas City metro area. Google Fiber in Atlanta has a similar pricing option, while offering an alternative of gigabit speeds at $70 per month or more for both television and Internet.