Irvine is set to become the next city to get Google Fiber, an ultra-fast Internet service that’s only available in select urban markets. But there’s a catch. The Mountain View-based tech giant is only rolling out the service to select Irvine Company properties, at least to start.
Google Fiber, which promises connection speeds as much as 40 times faster than standard broadband, will be available to Irvine Company’s properties throughout the city later this year, followed by a more extensive rollout starting early next year.
Irvine Company owns many apartments, commercial and retail properties in the city. The two companies are currently in talks to decide which properties will receive the gigabit service first, according to Pete Albers, Google Fiber’s head of real estate partnerships. Albers cited infrastructure investments made by Irvine Company as the reason why it will be the first to receive the ultrafast internet service.
Irvine Company has been installing empty conduit between and in its properties since the mid-1980s, a prescient decision that makes it easy for Google to install Fiber service. That existing infrastructure was the main reason why Google chose to add Irvine to its roster of Fiber-connected cities. Google is also working with the city and other real estate owners and developers to bring the technology to other kinds of buildings, including single-family homes.
The deal has been rumored for months. Google’s Fiber division added Irvine, a city renowned for its tech industry and educated and affluent residents, to its coveted list of possible expansion cities. Google Fiber offers broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second. That lets you download a HD movie in a matter of seconds, rather than minutes or hours.
According to Akamai Technologies’ State of the Internet Report, the average internet connection speed in the United States is about 15 megabits, or 0.15% of the speeds offered by Google Fiber. According to Akamai’s rankings, the United States, with a broadband internet market dominated by Comcast and Time Warner, does not even rank in the global top 10 for internet speeds, although the US is still the fastest in the Americas.
The announcement marks one of Google Fiber’s first moves into Southern California. Earlier expansions have seen Google Fiber service unveiled in San Jose and Mountain View, where the company’s headquarters are located, and other Northern California cities, but up until now SoCal has been largely left out of the loop. San Diego and Los Angeles are listed as ‘potential’ Google Fiber cities, but there’s no word on a specific timeline. So far, Irvine is the closest any SoCal city has come to getting hooked up with Fiber.
Google Fiber is currently available in dozens of cities, including Atlanta, Austin, Kansas City, Provo and Salt Lake City in Utah, Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. Prices are $50 per month for 100 megabits internet, $70 for 1 gigabit internet and $130 for internet and cable TV.
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(all data current as of 8/17/2017)
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