The city council of Portland, Ore. signed an agreement Wednesday that allows Google to install and operate a high-speed fiber optic network in the city through 2024. Portland is one of nine areas currently under consideration for Google Fiber's next project.
The agreement includes a number of terms that Google would be required to agree to in order to operate Google Fiber in Portland. The most significant is a five percent fee Google would be required to pay the city based on total revenue from the service. Google Fiber would not need to pay the additional three percent Portland collects from other cable providers in order to support public education programming. Instead, Google will deliver free internet access to up to 100 local nonprofit organizations. Google would also be required to assist in any defenses from legal action accusing the Portland of giving preferential treatment.
If installed in Portland, Google Fiber would provide internet access at speeds of up to 1 Gbps. Residents would also have the option of obtaining free internet service at 5 Mbps after paying a $300 installation fee. While most internet service providers are required to provide access to the entire city, Google will be allowed to choose which areas of the city to service. This exception is due to the fact that Google will be building an all-new infrastructure in order to provide its services. Google would also construct up to three wireless networks in public areas, maintaining them and providing access at no cost to Portland or its residents.
As well as meeting Portland's demands, Google Fiber will have to secure agreements with private companies. For example, the network will require use of the utility poles in the city, which are owned by companies such as Century Link and Portland General Electric. Even then the process will be a long one. Kansas City was the first area to be selected for Google Fiber in March 2011, and the first houses weren't connected to the network until November 2012. Even now the network is still under construction.
"It does take time," said Google Fiber spokeswoman Jenna Wandres said. "It's probably one of the biggest infrastructure projects these cities have ever seen."
Although the final decision to install Google Fiber in the city has not yet been made Portland Mayor Charlie Hayes is enthusiastic about the project.
"It is such a good fit with who we are and who we will be in this city," he said.
Other cities under consideration include Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Phoenix, San Jose and San Antonio.