It’s official: Google Fiber is coming to Raleigh and Durham. And to Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Cary, Morrisville and Garner. Oh, and to Charlotte.
Google Fiber’s business director Michael Slinger joined Gov. McCrory and seven Triangle mayors Tuesday afternoon at the N.C. Museum of History to make the announcement.
“Today we are committing to invest in and build a brand new fiber optic network throughout (the seven Triangle municipalities),” Slinger said. He said Google began working with the municipal leaders last year, “to explore the possibility of bringing a super-fast internet and TV service to their residents and small businesses. Because of their hard work we have chosen the Triangle for this major investment. ”
Google Fiber offers an all-HD TV service and internet service up to 100 times faster than basic broadband. Slinger spoke about the success of Google Fiber in other U.S. cities— including Kansas Cities, Kan. and Mo., Provo, Utah and Austin, Texas—for research, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as entertainment.
“As a hub of creativity, technology and as one of the fastest-growing areas of America, this is the perfect place to show us what’s possible,” Slinger said.
It may be some time before Google Fiber is up and running in the Triangle, however. It will take hundreds of construction crews and installers to lay enough glass fiber-optic cables that will reach the distance of Raleigh to London and back. Slinger says Google Fiber will spend the next several months completing the design of the network before beginning construction one area at a time. Google will also hire a local team to meet with community, business and civic leaders.
Mayors Nancy McFarlane of Raleigh and Bill Bell of Durham kept their remarks brief, both noting that they were excited about the new partnership.
Gov. McCrory said the move complements the state’s goal to be “a part of the national innovative Triangle,” stretching from the Silicon Valley, where Google is headquartered, to the Boston area, down to North Carolina. He joked that North Carolina is ready to move Google headquarters here.“This advanced technology is a selling point in addition to the incredible talent that we have throughout North Carolina and especially right here,” he said.
McCrory noted that North Carolina was known as the “good roads” state in the 20th century. He says North Carolina is now becoming the “21st century, digital infrastructure state,” which will “help us with education, create jobs and help gain access for everybody.”
McCrory says it will be important to bring this kind of technology to all areas of the state down the road.
“This technology is all part of our 25-year transportation and infrastructure plan, it’s as important as roads, and that’s the way we ought to think about it,” McCrory said. “It’s a form of connectivity, and that connectivity will bring more jobs and economic prosperity.”