Smithfield Herald

Johnston misses out of Google Fiber

Johnston County residents won’t soon see scenes like this one in which Google crews install Google Fiber in a neighborhood outside Kansas City, Mo.
Johnston County residents won’t soon see scenes like this one in which Google crews install Google Fiber in a neighborhood outside Kansas City, Mo. MCT FILE PHOTO

Amid the excitement over Google Fiber coming to the Triangle, some folks who live just outside of Garner and into Johnston County are disappointed the Internet service won’t reach them.

When asked whether they wanted the service, residents were quick with an answer.

“Hell yes,” said Chris Cook, a resident of Eagle Ridge subdivision near Garner. “With that kind of bandwidth, things are going to change big time.”

Last week, Google Fiber announced it will web the Triangle with thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable in the coming years, connecting homes in seven municipalities, including Garner near the Wake-Johnston border.

“We don’t have any current plans to expand to additional cities beyond those in the initial announcement,” Greg Behr, a Google spokesman, said in an email. “We love that people are excited about Fiber, but we have to start somewhere – we have a lot of work to do before we can talk about additional expansion plans.”

Cook said he wasn’t surprised when he heard Google Fiber wouldn’t reach his neighborhood.

“It’s a huge company, and they are going to do what’s best for their money,” he said. “What’s fair doesn’t mean (anything). They are going to go to San Francisco, Kansas City and other big cities, then go to one place in redneck land and make it look like they are serving us.”

Google has declined to say how soon construction will begin in the Triangle, when service will start or which areas will come online first. The roll-out will happen in phases.

The Triangle is one of four metropolitan areas to join Google’s Internet service in the recently announced expansion, which is Google Fiber’s largest yet. The company chose the Triangle, Atlanta, Charlotte and Nashville from a pool of 21 metropolitan areas.

Google’s service, now operating in three markets nationally, offers speeds about 100 times faster than a typical broadband connection, the company says. A gigabit connection should cost about $70 per month; Google also will sell television access for about $60 more.

Residents left out of the Google web say they would welcome another option for their Internet and TV.

“We need more competition,” said Kevin Wertz, a resident of Turner Farms subdivision. “My Internet has gone up to like $60 now, and Dish Network has had to go up to $60 a month for that. So basically I’d be able to pay the same thing for Google Fiber, and it would have much better service to get TV and Internet combined.”

“We have a nice concentrated area out here that would feed a good amount of customers,” he added.

Johnston County Manager Rick Hester said he had received no calls from residents inquiring about the service. He said he didn’t know that much about the Google Fiber plans himself.

“But I’m sure it’s one of those things where the markets will dictate that, and the individuals will decide whether they want the service,” Hester said. “I hope to get some more information on it in the near future. It certainly sounds exciting.”