Some Portland residents will have another alternative for Internet service soon, as this week the Portland City Council has approved a franchise agreement with Google to bring its fiber service into the Northwest locale. Google will apparently offer free Internet service to Portland residents for a one-time $300 fee, a trade-off for the city dropping a three-percent fee levied on rival provider Comcast.
Not all parts of Portland may have access to Google’s fiber service, however. The Mountain View, Calif., company will hold “fiber rallies” to figure out the level of interest and demand across Portland’s neighborhoods. “Google is as interested in the number of people who would sign up for its basic Internet plan (5 Mbps of service) as it is its more expensive premium plans,” PC Mag reported.
Google will still pave to pay a five percent franchise fee on video revenues, and provide free Internet service “to some to-be-determined nonprofits, in addition to providing a total of three free Wi-Fi networks in various parts of the city,” according to PC Mag.
There are still some hurdles in the way for Google fiber roll-out, in particular already existing, exclusive deals that lock certain apartment communities with ISPs such as Time Warner, Verizon or Comcast. Separate negotiations with management would be needed on a case-by-case basis and it’s not a foregone conclusion that Google fiber would squeeze in to compete.
Also complicating Google fiber’s arrival are local regulations and access to city’s utility poles. “Google is also still waiting for franchise agreements with five other suburbs that it would need in order roll out its full services to the greater Portland area,” according to PC Mag.