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No More Rumors! Google Fiber Is Coming To North Carolina

Google Fiber
Leoneda Inge

The next cities to benefit from ultra-high-speed internet service will be in the southern United States.  Google Fiber announced yesterday it is bringing its super-fast access to Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte and to the Raleigh-Durham area in the Triangle.

There have been rumors for weeks Google was about to make a big announcement. Michael Slinger, Director of Business Operations for Google Fiber made it official.

“The mayors and Google have invited all of you here to share some great news.  We are bringing Google Fiber to the Triangle!"

And there were several mayors in the auditorium at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh –from Nancy McFarland of Raleigh to Ronnie Williams of Garner.  Google’s North Carolina announcement was the biggest so far, including eight municipalities – anchored by Charlotte and the Triangle, which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.

Last year, Google began “dangling the carrot,” as one mayor put it, working with cities to explore the possibility of bringing a super fast internet and TV service to homes and businesses. It worked.

'This kind of fast internet is awesome.'

“This kind of fast internet is awesome. Especially this time of year when it helps you stream ACC basketball on ESPN without any buffering," said Slinger, to some laughter from the audience.

Google Fiber can deliver data 100 times faster than your basic internet service.  The broadband speed in an average American home is 11.5 Megabits per second.  Google Fiber is talking about a “Gigabit,” 1,000 Megabits per second.

"Just what the state needs"

'The fact that we have high speed anything here and now Google, for everything is going to be amazing, really will.'

Governor Pat McCrory says it’s just what the state needs.

“This puts us, especially our major metro areas, in line with the Austin, Texas and the Silicon Valley and the Bostons and New Yorks," said McCrory.  "And it is very crucial that we get this type of service, not only to the metro areas but in the future our goal is to the rest of the state."

North Carolina recently became the ninth most populous state.  

Ann-Cabell Baum Anderson is a realtor in downtown Raleigh with Glenwood Agency and says the Google Fiber announcement will help attract even more residents and businesses.

“The fact that we have high speed anything here and now Google, for everything is going to be amazing, really will.  And people do make decisions based on connectivity and if they can live in the same space they work, and they can do it here," said Anderson.

Google hasn’t announced a timeline for its North Carolina installation.  There are success stories in the three other cities with Google Fiber, like a geneticist in Provo, Utah exploring ways to use Google Fiber for critical research. But there are also complaints as construction crews plow through landscape for the new fiber optic lines.

>> More: What's It Like To Have Internet 100 Times Faster Than Broadband?

Charles Hayes heads the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.  He says it’s all about being able to compete.

“And Google Fiber helps us do that.  Everywhere will eventually get it, but we just have it first," said Hayes.  "And so that gives us competitive advantage.”

The competition spans national and global. 

Steve Rao is a Town Councilman in Morrisville and is head of Business Development at Alphanumeric.  He was in Raleigh at the Museum of History for the announcement.

“I know the companies from India and China they’re investing in the US, but having such a high-tech corridor I think it’s going to make it even more attractive for them to come. So, I’m really excited," said Rao.

A Google spokesman says they are in the process of finding office space in the Triangle for their team so marketing and construction can begin.

Leoneda Inge is the co-host of WUNC's "Due South." Leoneda has been a radio journalist for more than 30 years, spending most of her career at WUNC as the Race and Southern Culture reporter. Leoneda’s work includes stories of race, slavery, memory and monuments. She has won "Gracie" awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and several awards from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association (RTDNA). In 2017, Leoneda was named "Journalist of Distinction" by the National Association of Black Journalists.
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