Portland May Subsidize Gigabit Fiber

In the fiber optic, high-speed world, it seems all everyone wants to talk about is gigabit connectivity. Most often, this means Google Fiber. As the Internet giant expands more and more into being a service provider, cities throughout the country work to lure in the popular company.

Yet, one population often is left out of the Internet boom and that is low-income residents. In Kansas City, Google’s gigabit connectivity starts at $70 per month. For some this may sound affordable for lightning-fast Internet speeds, many households cannot fit it into their budgets. Google offers a free 5 Mbps and 1 Mbps upload speed option, but it requires a $300 construction fee.

Portland, Oregon is currently in early discussions with Google to be one of the 34 cities where it will expand its fiber-optic network. Realizing that not all residents will be able to benefit from this service, the Portland City Council recently suggested subsidizing Google’s cheapest option, the 5 Mbps download choice, by helping to pay the $300 installation fee.

Google will announce later this year which cities will be part of the next expansion plan. They stated that they would make their decision by looking at a city and seeing how many people sign up for their service, regardless of the option. Portland hopes covering the installation costs for low-income residents will encourage more people to sign up.

GeoTel Communications’ fiber maps and broadband maps can be utilized to analyze existing infrastructure so that city officials and Internet service providers can decide how best to build out a fiber-optic network. Our data sets also show which telecom providers already have a fiber presence in the area, so officials know which companies to contact for quotes. If you are interested in obtaining telecom GIS data sets, contact GeoTel Communications at (800) 277-2172.