Google Fiber neighborhood install in Sandy Utah

Google Fiber crew laying cable in the streets

Back in October 2022, I was thrilled to see construction workers digging up my neighborhood streets in Sandy, Utah, laying the literal groundwork for Google Fiber high speed Internet service.

I had heard so many good things about Google Fiber, from multiple people who had used the service, which boosted my interest and fueled enthusiasm. I snapped multiple photos of the construction workers and cable installers in the midst of their installation process.

I was fascinated by the way that these new lines were run directly into our neighborhood streets. Instead of digging up the road verge ( also known as the parkway, park strip, grass strip, nature strip or curb strip ), the sidewalks, or other right-of-way areas. They created a thin ditch directly in the streets, no more than ~1 inch wide, where they laid down the fiber optic cable directly, and then covered it over with tar or some other sealant.

Above you can see a close up shot of the new Google Fiber cable being laid into the very narrow ditch that was cut into the streets and roadways. They used a precise cement cutter/street digger with a thin blade to do this, which used a jack hammer style up and down hammer action to create this very narrow ditch for miles and miles throughout our neighborhood. Yes, it was loud!

Above: more spools of fiber optic cable on a flatbed trailer, used for laying fiber down inside the road.

Google Fiber installation in the park strip

Now of course, they also need to get the Fiber in from the street and to the residences. To facilitate this, they dig junction points in the park strips, making the cabling more accessible than if it had just remained in the street alone. They call this “the hub”. They typically place these in a location that is between 2 houses, so that they have a central place to pull “the last feet” over to 2 different properties/houses. This reminds me of “the last mile”, which is a term often mentioned when discussing fiber service. This “last mile” is often the largest expense that a provider has to incur in order to make service available to consumers.

Above: a view of the “park strip” dig hole that contains fiber cable, which can then be pulled / dug to the homes and residences themselves.

A few months, perhaps 4, after the construction completed, I started receiving advertisement mailers for Google Fiber consumer high speed internet service availability at my home. I welcome the competition and the consumer choice! Our area was previously only served by Comcast Xfinity cable internet and CenturyLink DSL. The DSL speeds are dog slow (20Mbps down), and CenturyLink customer service has been pretty poor, in my experience, so there has not been much competitive pressure on Comcast until now.

The Google Fiber value proposition? $70/month for 1Gbps symmetrical (both download and upload speeds). No contract, no minimum term, no installation or setup fees. Google Mesh WiFi (Nest WiFi router and repeaters) included at no additional cost. Faster speeds are also available at a higher price point.

Note: Google Fiber likes to refer to their service as “GFiber”.

Google Fiber construction map in Sandy Utah

Doing some research online, I found the above Google Fiber construction status map for Sandy, UT. The majority of the city has had their Google Fiber construction completed, and is now eligible for Google Fiber service. There’s a region in green in central East Sandy that appears to not have service available yet, and then there’s the keyhole / hole-punch area right in the middle of Sandy, surrounded by red everywhere, that does not have Google Fiber service available. I would be so pissed if I lived in that area of Sandy and could not get Google Fiber service!

I hope that we continue to see the propagation of additional consumer high speed internet choice for citizens around the nation. Whether that be fiber service, cable broadband or whatever comes next. We’ll all be better off with more options, more choice, and the improved service and capabilities that come with this. Onward!

About Wes Novack

Wes is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has extensive experience with online publishing and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, getting outdoors, skateboarding, hiking, pickelball, tennis, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) @WesleyTech.

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