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Portland hopes to plug into Google's high-speed Internet

by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Google Public Affairs Officer Darcy Nothnagle told reporters during a Portland City Hall press conference that Google was interested in building a high-speed fiber-optic system in the Rose City.Portland is on the short list of cities working with Google to explore the possibility of bringing the ultra high-speed Google Fiber broadband network to the city.

"Google is looking for communities that serve as hubs for innovation. And that’s Portland,” Mayor Hales told reporters Wednesday morning. “Our culture of creativity and coalition-building makes this the ideal spot for ultra high-speed broadband.”

Portland is among 34 cities being considered for inclusion in Google Fiber’s high-speed network. Places like Kansas City, Kan., and Provo, Utah, have led the way. In addition to Portland, other local cities considered potential sites for Google are Gresham, Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro.

Several local mayors took part in the City Hall press conference, including Denny Doyle of Beaverton, Shane Beamis of Gresham, Jerry Willey of Hillsboro, Kent Studebaker of Lake Oswego and John Cook of Tigard.

“There is no question that the Internet has literally rewired how we work and live, and it still has so much potential to improve our lives,” Hales said. “Abundant, high-speed broadband access will make our community stronger and will lay the foundations of economic development for our future.”

Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Fiber, said the company would work with Hales and city leaders on a joint planning process to explore what it would take to build a new fiber-optic network capable of delivering high speeds throughout Portland. Google also will study local factors that might affect construction plans. Simultaneously, Hales will begin meetings with Google to discuss what it would take to plan and prepare the city for a fiber project of this scale.

“Communities with abundant high-speed Internet grow stronger because there’s greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth, and help students and families get access to essential resources” Lo said. “City leaders like Charlie Hales are stepping up to see what they can do to make their cities ready for the fiber-optic networks that are the future. We look forward to working with Portland in the coming months to see if we can build the next chapter of the Internet together, on gigabit speeds.”

Google will provide an update on which cities will get Google Fiber by the end of this year, Lo said.

Google Fiber is an Internet and TV service that provides Internet connectivity that is up to 100-times faster than the basic broadband, along with hundreds of HD TV channels.

For more information, visit the Google Fiber blog, googlefiberblog.blogspot.com/.