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Google Talks Up Fiber Expansion Plans

Google is on track with its exploration to expand Google Fiber to as many as 34 cities as they complete “checklists” that could pave the way for future deployments, and the expectation is to announce the going-forward plan before the end of the year, company SVP and CFO Patrick Pichette said Thursday on the company’s second quarter earnings call.

Google Fiber has buildouts underway in Kansas City, Mo; Kansas City, Kan.; Provo, Utah; and Austin, Texas. Under an expansion plan announced in February, Google identified 34 cities in nine metros, including Nashville, Tenn.; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; Salt Lake City; San Antonio; San Jose; and Atlanta. Google is now working with those cities to determine where it will build out its 1-Gig network.

Those cities are in the process of completing a readiness checklist (PDF) that aims to streamline the process and to help keep the cost of construction in check. Pichette said Google Fiber and the cities will be working out rights-of-way, permitting and other details “over the coming months.”

Pichette also heaped some praise on the economics of Google Fiber, which, unlike earlier competitive overbuilders, has sought approval for a demand-based deployment plan that enables Google Fiber to target “fiberhoods” that meet subscriber thresholds.

“The economics of a fiber network today are clearly much cheaper than they were, say, a decade ago,” Pichette said. “There have been a lot of improvements in cost reductions and technology components all through the fiber network, but also in the way we build it…an important part of our strategy is actually to build the demand.”

On the financial front, Google poste net income of $3.42 billion ($4.99 per share), up almost 6%, on revenues of $15.96 billion, up 22% year-over-year.

Google also announced that Nikesh Arora, its chief business officer, is leaving to take a new post at SoftBank, the Japan-based telecommunications company that acquired Sprint last year.