Here are the five parameters that Google is using to determine which cities will get Google Fiber:
1. Existing fiber network – Google wants wants to move quickly and do it as cheaply as possible so it is leveraging dark fiber and existing fiber networks like the one in Provo. So far, Google has only moved to take over existing buried networks, so there is a possibility that they will install Fiber in cities that have utility poles (like Charlotte), mainly because of the massive price difference of hanging vs. buried cable.
2. Close to a Google data center – Google operates data centers internationally to support their products. More fiber running to and from the Google data centers means that it can process requests faster and glean data more efficiently. Proximity to a Google data center is key.
3. Population size range – At least in the beginning, Google will be targeting cities that are big enough to be diverse, but small enough that it will be able to avoid the oversight of cities like San Francisco, Boston, and New York City. Again, speed matters.
4. Willing local government – Permitting is, perhaps, one of the biggest obstacles that Google will have to overcome in its quest to rapidly build out Google Fiber cities. All of the city officials we have talked to said that they were very eager to work with Google, and some were working to expedite the permitting process to show their dedication to bringing Fiber to their city. So, local government cooperation is huge.
5. Not in a Verizon FiOS coverage zone – Verizon is the biggest competitor Google Fiber has at this point. FiOS consistently takes top ratings in customer satisfaction as an ISP. It would be foolish of Google to try to take on FiOS this early in the game, however, they don’t seem to have a problem taking shots at AT&T, as evidenced by their brazen move into Austin.