The second and third largest cities in the U.S. have the potential to score some serious startup swag: Google has just announced that it is considering bringing its ultra-fast Google Fiber Internet service to Los Angeles and Chicago.
The deals are far from complete, and if approved, will take years to be up and running, but the wheels are in motion. Faster Internet would mean more opportunity for entrepreneurs and startups in both cities.
“In Chicago, fiber Internet will help bolster a fast-growing startup scene by fueling incubators like 1871, venture capital funds like Chicago Ventures and hundreds of small businesses,” says Jill Szuchmacher, the director of Google Fiber Expansion, in a blog post announcing the news. “In L.A., faster Internet may mean that indie musicians and YouTube stars can spend less time worrying about bandwidth, and more time creating their next project.”
Los Angeles and Chicago are the biggest cities Google Fiber has considered so far. The first step in the process of determining feasibility for Google is to do a detailed analysis of the city’s existing infrastructure and land structure.
Right now, only three cities have the Google Fiber Network: Provo, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.; and Austin, Texas. Another half dozen cities are in various process of installation, including Salt Lake City, Nashville and Atlanta.
Google Fiber delivers Internet at 1,000 megabits per second, or 1 gigabit per second. That’s many multiples faster than the Internet in most U.S. cities, though not all. The city of Chattanooga, Tenn., is a — potentially surprising — leader in Internet connectivity speed in the U.S. The Southern city’s economy got a boost when the metro-area installed 1 gigabit Internet service, which it claimed that was 200 times faster than the national average. In October, Chattanooga upgraded the Internet broadband again and now it has service as fast as 10 gigabits per second available. The service has proven transformative for the once dilapidated, rundown and polluted city.