Apex left out of Google Fiber plans

aramos@newsobserver.comMarch 7, 2014 

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    For more about Google Fiber’s expansion plans or to enter your address into the website, visit fiber.google.com.

— When Google announced last month that seven municipalities in the Triangle are in the running for its high-speed Internet service, Apex wasn’t on the list.

Town Manager Bruce Radford wanted to know why. He called Google, hoping it was a clerical error.

It wasn’t.

“We definitely appreciate Apex’s enthusiasm, but we’re focused on the 34 cities we announced two weeks ago for now,” said spokeswoman Jenna Wandres. “We have a lot of work to do, and we had to draw a line somewhere. That said, we do think the real benefits of fiber accrue when an entire region has it.”

Apex, which is the third-largest municipality in Wake County, was among 1,100 towns that applied to Google for the service in 2011.

But the company chose Carrboro, Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, Garner, Morrisville and Raleigh, along with other towns throughout the country.

Google officials met last month with town representatives to gain information about the municipalities’ utility poles, right-of-way access and local ordinances.

Apex was also left out of another Internet initiative. Gig.U, a national campaign to jump-start high-speed Internet development, hopes to bring service to North Carolina, including some municipalities and several universities.

Participation was by invitation only. Apex didn’t make the cut.

If some parts of the Triangle get Google Fiber, Apex could benefit. Google has already expanded service beyond it original plan because of overwhelming demand.

Google chose Kansas City for the initial market for Google Fiber but expanded two months later to include Kansas City, Mo. The expansion also includes suburban areas.

Google bought the fiber system last summer in Provo, Utah. Service is also pending in Austin, Texas.

The company hasn’t yet released how many communities it will select for fiber service this go-around.

“This isn’t a competition. We hope all 34 will,” Wandres said.

Now, Apex leaders are asking residents to log on to Google Fiber’s website that gauges community interest. They can enter their address on the site.

Radford said he is waiting to hear back from Google.

“Why exclude Apex when the study is as broad as it is?” he asked.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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