Google has added Charlotte to a list of nine metro areas it is exploring as its next Google Fiber deployment. Google Fiber is a fiber-optic Internet network touted as being up to 100 times faster than basic broadband.
While the plans, for now, contain the system within Charlotte’s city limits (should Google choose to launch it here), expansion into surrounding areas hasn’t been ruled out.
As with any type of change, there are pros and cons to the plan for Charlotte’s residents. On one hand, if Google Fiber comes to Charlotte, it would add another competitor to the market. That could drive down prices from companies already offering Internet service in the area, or force them to also offer faster Internet speeds. Such high-speed Internet access could also be a magnet for tech entrepreneurs and companies. That means Charlotte could be in line to become the next Silicon Valley… or at least Silicon Alley, as the part of New York City where tech companies are located is known.
On the other hand, we’re talking about laying tons of fiber optic cables. That could mean additional work for Charlotte’s permitting staff, as well as adding another massive construction project for Charlotte residents to get around. Google says, though, that its working to minimize – if not eliminate – these hassles.
Google plans to announce later this year whether Charlotte has made the cut for its Google Fiber service. Even if Charlotte is green-lighted, there is no word on when the service would be ready. But as Eric Frazier said in his recent article in the Charlotte Observer, “…this is one time I suspect we’d all rather be part of the experiment than on the sidelines watching.”