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Google Fiber Extends Its Feelers

Google Fiber said it is exploring an expansion into three markets – Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.

“Now we start our joint planning process, when we work side-by-side with local leaders to create detailed studies of each metro area,”  Jill Szuchmacher, director, Google Fiber Expansion, said in this blog post. “Constructing a brand-new fiber network is a big job—the more we learn about a city, the smoother our construction efforts will be. We’ll study factors that may impact construction, like local infrastructure and housing density.”

Google Fiber, she added, will decide whether to move ahead after it wraps up the vetting process in those areas.

If Google Fiber does push forward, it will compete in Oklahoma City with Cox Communications and AT&T; in Jacksonville with Comcast (Jacksonville is a site for the MSO's 2-Gig Gigabit Pro FTTP service) and AT&T, where the telco has deployed GigaPower; and in Tampa with Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS (Verizon is selling that FiOS property to Frontier Communications).

Those explorations follow similar explorations Google Fiber has underway in Irvine and San Diego and San Jose, Calif.; Portland; and Louisville, Ky., setting up potential additional competition for Cox, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, depending on the market.

Google Fiber has also  committed to launch service in San Antonio, Texas, building on deployments in Kansas City; Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas, and buildouts underway in Salt Lake City; Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; Charlotte; and Raleigh-Durham.

Google Fiber has not released subscriber counts for its gigabit broadband and pay TV services, but Bernstein Research estimated recently that it has between 100,000 to 120,000 paid subs, and that its network currently passes about 427,000 homes and 96,000 business locations.

“We have increased conviction that Google’s main motivation to deploy Google Fiber is its belief that it has a better-than-good chance to build a profitable local-access competitor,” Carlos Kirjner, a senior analyst with the firm, noted in that study, which included fresh data from recent door-to-door surveys in some Google Fiber markets.