Google prepares 34-city push for ultra-fast fiber service

by. Edwin Chan

Google is exploring a major expansion of its super-fast “Fiber” TV and Internet service, which could extend the nascent network to 34 more U.S. cities and pose a competitive threat to home broadband providers.

Google (GOOG) executives told reporters Wednesday the search company has reached out in recent weeks to cities from nine metropolitan areas around the country, including San Jose, Calif., Atlanta and Nashville, Tenn., to discuss the feasibility of building out Fiber, which Google says delivers the Internet at speeds up to 100 times faster than average networks.

As Google delivers more music, videos and other content to mobile devices, it is increasing investment in ensuring it gets the bandwidth it needs. Web-access projects like Fiber could also help grow revenues beyond its maturing search business, and give it more insight into consumers’ online habits — which, in turn, is crucial to making ads more effective.

Google had initially billed its first Fiber broadband offer, begun in the Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., last year, as a test project to spur development of Web services and technology.

But industry observers speculate that the one-gigabit-a-second high-speed Internet service could become a viable business for the company, prompting traditional rivals such as AT&T to mount a defense.

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