Eastern Wake News

Google Fiber will not include Knightdale

After a grass-roots effort led by residents and the town lobbied Google Fiber to consider extending its service plan to include Knightdale, Google has told the town that it can’t be included in its plans, at least for right now.

In the meantime, Google said towns such as Knightdale can begin prepping for fiber services by completing a checklist of things the company says towns must do to acquire the service.

“We have a lot of work to do with the cities we’re currently partnering with and we need to make sure we don’t bite off more than we can chew,” Google said in an emailed response to the town’s communications director, Brian Bowman. “While we’re not in a place to work directly with additional cities at this stage, you may be interested in reviewing the checklist we put together for cities.”

The checklist is used specifically with the 34 cities Google is considering establishing a network in, but it also lists the best practices for any area wanting a fiber network.

The checklist asks towns and cities to evaluate their infrastructure, make sure Google would have easy access to that infrastructure, and to show that permitting and construction processes in the municipality are “efficient and predictable.”

When the original expansion plan was revealed, Bowman said Knightdale would welcome the company and make it easy to provide the fiber service, saying he didn’t foresee the town putting up any red tape through the process.

Google Fiber is the tech company’s version of fiber-optic Internet, with download speeds about 100 times faster than most broadband connections. It also offers high-definition television services.

The service is offered only in a few cities across the country.

Last month, the company announced plans to expand the service and included nine metro areas it would consider as the next home for Google Fiber. Within some of those metro areas, the company named specific municipalities.

The plan named the Raleigh-Durham area, which includes Chapel Hill, Carborro, Garner, Morrisville and Cary.

When the plan was originally announced, Knightdale began tweeting at Google and listing some of the attributes that make the town a favorable place to begin service.

The town touted its low median age, the lowest in the Raleigh area at 31, as well as its proximity to downtown Raleigh and growing population.

The town’s residents then began contacting Google as well.

According to Google’s timeline, cities will have to have completed the checklist by May 1 to continue the process.

From there, Google will review the reports and said it should know which cities will receive fiber service by the end of 2014.