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The superfast web grows: Google Fiber to expand to 34 new cities

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  • Google Fiber for Communities

    A screen capture of Google's Fiber for Communities Web site, where the company hopes to select areas for its new network.Google

Google is bringing ultrafast Internet connections to 34 new cities across the country including San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Atlanta, Ga., the tech behemoth announced Wednesday.

Google Fiber connects your house to the Web over fiber at gigabit speeds, more than 100 times faster than the average U.S. broadband connection (8.6 Mbps), and more than double the fastest download speed of Verizon FiOS, the largest fiber optic Internet provider in the country. The service has been limited to three cities -- Provo, Utah; Austin, Texas; and Kansas City, Missouri. That’s all going to change, the company said.

“People are hungrier than ever for faster Internet,” wrote Milo Medin, vice president of access services for Google, in a blog post announcing the expansion. “Hundreds of mayors from across the U.S. have stated that abundant high-speed Internet access is essential for sparking innovation, driving economic growth and improving education.”

On Wednesday Google said it planned to expand to 34 cities in 9 metropolitan areas: Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; Nashville, Tenn.; San Antonio, Tx.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Jose, Calif.; and Portland, Ore. Only certain cities in each municipality will be invited to sign up for the service, however: For example, Scottsdale and Tempe will be invited to join, but not nearby Mesa.

“Cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed,” Medin wrote. “For example, they’ll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. They’ll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure—like utility poles—so we don’t unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one.”

For chosen cities, the company offers a free, 5mbps Internet service (good for one device or computer at a time). Gigabit service is $70. For $50 more, you can add 200 HD channels and record up to eight programs at a time. 

Blake Snow recently tested out the service for FoxNews.com at his home in Provo, Utah.

“As a lifelong Internetter, I haven’t been this excited about the Internet since … well, maybe the first time I logged onto Yahoo in 1994, when ‘portals’ were still cool. The sheer possibility of going 100 times faster online excites me. It makes me giggle,” Snow wrote.