Google Fiber broadens footprint in Phoenix, Denver, plans affordable option

Google Fiber expanded the scope of its network builds in Arizona and Colorado, striking right of way access agreements with two more suburban cities in its previously announced target metro areas of Phoenix and Denver. During a meeting with officials in Colorado, Google representatives also revealed the operator is planning to debut a new low-cost service tier sometime in the near future.

Last year, Google Fiber announced Mesa, Arizona as its Phoenix-area target, joining several other operators in pursuing an expansion there. This week, it added the adjacent city of Chandler – which sits just to the south of Mesa – to its build list. In Colorado, the City of Westminster joined Lakewood as another of Google’s Denver-area growth markets.

Westminster’s City Council approved a deal allowing Google Fiber to use the city’s rights of way for construction at a meeting on February 6, at which Google Fiber executives Louis Lipner and Jason Bone spoke.

During the meeting, officials revealed discussions with the operator began back in Q3 2022. Google Fiber is aiming to serve a “majority” of Westminster residents, with construction set to begin later this year. Initial service availability is expected in 2024 and all told Lipner and Bone estimated it will take two to three years to complete the build.

According to U.S. Census data, the City of Westminster has approximately 115,000 residents spread across roughly 47,000 households. Chandler, meanwhile, had around 280,000 citizens in just over 102,000 households.

In Westminster, Google will be entering a market already served primarily by Comcast’s cable broadband and Lumen Technologies’ fiber internet, the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband coverage map shows. City officials said they have also been approached by two other operators looking to execute similar right of way agreements, though did not name them.

In Chandler, Google Fiber will be squaring off with Cox Communications’ fiber service and Lumen’s legacy copper assets.

Low-cost option

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a broadband subsidy offered through the Federal Communications Commission which is designed to lower the monthly cost of internet service for low-income consumers. Responding to council questions about Google Fiber's plan pricing and affordability, Lipner stated “By the time we are delivering service to customers in Westminster, we’re also planning to have an even lower-priced product so that $30 subsidy would make the service effectively free to customers who quality [for the Affordable Connectivity Program].” 

Several other operators, including Verizon, Comcast, Charter Communications, have long offered lower-tier offerings to make internet service free to consumers participating in the ACP.

In addition to adding a lower-cost option, Google Fiber has also teased plans to supplement its existing 1-gig and 2-gig offerings with 5-gig and 8-gig tiers in early 2023.