Networking

Google Fiber officially selects Louisville, KY to run its new gigabit play

Google Fiber will be utilizing fixed wireless and a technique known as microtrenching to drive down costs for its installation in the Kentucky city known for fast horses and big bats.

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Image: Google Fiber

Google Fiber has confirmed that the next city to receive its gigabit internet service will be Louisville, KY. As TechRepublic first reported on Tuesday, a day before the official announcement, Google Fiber has been courting the Derby city for years, but it has finally decided to begin building out its service in Louisville.

The company is expected to soon file a permit to begin construction on the network, as noted by the Louisville Courier-Journal. As is typical with fiber buildouts, the service will start in test communities before expanding to other parts of the city. The Courier-Journal also reported that construction will be done in phases to "minimize disruption," which also means that it could take time to get the service up and running in Louisville as Google Fiber experiments with new technologies.

The Google Fiber build-out in Louisville will rely partly on fixed wireless technologies (from its Webpass acquisition) to help deliver the service to customers. In an investigate report released February 9, 2017, TechRepublic predicted a wireless strategy for last mile connections, as a means of pushing back against impending competition from AT&T.

SEE: Google Fiber 2.0 targets the city where it will stage its comeback, as AT&T Fiber prepares to go nuclear

Another aspect of Google Fiber's deployment in Louisville will be the use of a technique known as microtrenching, whereby small trenches are cut into sidewalks and streets to lay fiber optic cable. The method, which is generally seen as less intrusive than traditional means (which require cutting larger trenches), was used by Verizon in New York City in 2013.

The use of microtrenching could also be Google's way of minimizing the use of utility poles to hang the cable. In early 2016, AT&T filed a lawsuit in federal court against the city of Louisville, after the city passed an ordinance allowing ISPs like Google Fiber to use utility poles owned by AT&T. The lawsuit is ongoing, and has cost the taxpayers of Louisville some $165,000 to defend the ordinance, as reported by WDRB.

AT&T, however, has continued to move forward with its plans to use traditional means to wire the city of Louisville for gigabit internet. So, if Google plans to compete in the area, it has its work cut out for it.

Despite the impending challenges, city leaders are excited for the new service. Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, in a video announcement, said that its was "great news" that Google Fiber was officially coming to the city, and something that many people in the community had been working on for years.

"It really puts an exclamation point to the economic momentum that we've got in the city right now," Fischer said in the video. "We're really going through a renaissance like we haven't seen in quite some time. And it sends another strong message to the world that we have an innovative-based economy here. We expect it to help grow more jobs and create more opportunity."

The official Google webpage for Fiber in Louisville still reads: "We're exploring bringing Fiber to Louisville." However, the Courier-Journal reported that Google Fiber "will release details of its service in Louisville at a later date."

A Google Fiber spokesperson said, "The start of construction is an exciting moment for Google Fiber in Louisville. Building a new fiber network is a big job, and we're grateful for the continued patience and support of the city's residents and leaders. Working with our partners, we can't wait to continue to develop creative ways to bring super fast connectivity to Louisville."

We've reached out to Google Fiber and the city of Louisville for additional details and will update this story as we learn more.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Google Fiber has officially announced that it will bring Google Fiber gigabit internet to Louisville, KY, and it will be based on its next generation infrastructure.
  2. The deployment will be Google Fiber's first that is based primarily on fixed wireless technologies, as TechRepublic first reported, to lower costs and speed the build-out of the network.
  3. Microtrenching, which involves small trenches cut for laying fiber optic cable, will also be used by Google to lessen reliance on utility poles owned by AT&T, with whom the city Louisville is involved in litigation.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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