Google Fiber One Step Closer To Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is one of the nearly three dozen additional lucky locales slated for a Google Fiber rollout, and the city is now one step closer to being wired for the search giant’s gigabit Internet service.

Portland’s commission has approved a franchise agreement with Google, which was a big hurdle to overcome before the service could come to the area. The agreement includes a provision that Google will provide free outdoor WiFi networks to certain areas of the city as well as Internet service to numerous nonprofits in exchange for waiving the 3% PEG fee (which covers public access, educational, and government programming) that Portland charges Comcast.

Portland, Oregon (Credit: Amateria1121 via Wikipedia)

Google will not be required to bring service to the entire city, but will roll out fiber to fiberhoods, as it has done in previous locations. If there is any legal challenge to Google Fiber, Google and Portland have agreed to mount a joint defense.

A few obstacles remain; Google must sign similar agreements in five Portland suburbs (Gresham, Tigard, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and Hillsboro), it has to come to agreements with Portland’s utility companies for access to utility poles, and it wants a more streamlined process for putting up utility cabinets.

There’s also some talk that Portland wants to use some of the franchise fees paid by Google to subsidize lower-cost Internet access for some of the city’s residents.