'Google Fiber is built for speed': Mesa to be next city to receive the high-speed internet service

·3 min read
The Mesa City Council approved a development agreement Monday to bring a Google data center to the city's tech corridor.
The Mesa City Council approved a development agreement Monday to bring a Google data center to the city's tech corridor.

Google Fiber, Google’s internet service, is coming to Mesa, the first Arizona city to receive the service, the company announced Friday.

At the Mesa City Council’s meeting July 11, the council will vote on a measure to allow Google to use the city right-of-way to install its infrastructure on city streets.

“It’s been a great partnership with the city of Mesa. The city is very interested in giving residents a choice in how they get their internet service,” Ashley Church, general manager for the west region for Google Fiber, said.

If the measure is approved by the council, Google will begin the engineering phase to prepare for construction and installation of the fiber underground.

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A new internet service option

Cox and CenturyLink are the largest internet service providers in Mesa, and both offer service across the city.

Ian Linssen, assistant to the city manager in Mesa, said expanding broadband access and closing the digital divide has been a priority for the council for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic made the issue even more pressing.

In January, the city released a request for information, seeking information about expanding the fiber optic network in the city. The request returned seven responses, including from Google and another provider called SiFi, which also will be before the City Council requesting licenses to develop a network in Mesa.

"Fiber optic technology is the technology of the future," Linssen said. "It has the capability to provide speeds and services to close the digital divide."

The city also is working on other programs to increase internet access, he said.

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Construction planned to start next year

Google uses a “shallow trenching” method to lay the fiber optic cable in a 1½- to 2-inch wide trench along the curb close to one side of the street. The method allows the installation to be “less disruptive, and as seamless as possible for residents,” Church said.

Construction is planned to begin in early 2023, with the first customers receiving service by the end of 2023.

Google does not wait until the entire construction project is finished to begin connecting customers, so some residents will have access to Google Fiber before the entire city has the ability to connect.

So far, Mesa is the only Arizona city where the Google Fiber network is planned, but Church said the company is exploring others.

“Google Fiber is built for speed; it’s a different type of internet service,” Church said.

The service offers two different plans, a $70 per month plan with one gigabit per second of download and upload speed, and a $100 per month plan of two gigabits per second of download speed and one gigabit upload speed.

The company also works to “future-proof” its technology to “continue to push the envelope” for speed, Church said.

Google Fiber began in 2010 and has service in 20 other cities and metro areas.

“We have been on that mission to really invest in communities,” Church said. “We want to bring fairly priced, open internet that’s reliable.”

Google declined to share data about the demand for Google Fiber in cities where the service is available, but Church said the company does extensive due diligence before entering a city to justify the private investment involved in building the network.

Mesa was also the landing spot for Google's $1 billion data center, which is in the city's Elliot Road Technology Corridor.

Reach the reporter at cvanek@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her on Twitter @CorinaVanek

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Mesa set to be the 1st Arizona city to receive Google Fiber