Google Fiber scores another deal in Colorado

Google Fiber will add another Colorado city to its growing footprint after being unanimously approved by the Wheat Ridge City Council this week. The agreement will allow GFiber to deliver high-speed internet to businesses and some 20,000 households within the Denver suburb’s city limit.

The buildout, which is 100% funded by Google Fiber, will begin in late 2024 and bring service to its first customer sometime in 2025, Google Fiber General Manager Sasha Petrovic told Fierce Telecom. Through "close work" with the Wheat Ridge City Council, Google will build its network within the city’s right of way.

Google Fiber offers 1-gig, 2-gig, 5-gig and 8-gig symmetric speed tiers. The 8-gig service costs $150 per month, which is half the price of Lumen’s comparable service tier. That rate includes a Wi-Fi 6 router and up to two mesh extenders. Pricing for its other tiers remains the same, with 1-gig offered for $70 per month, 2-gig for $100 and 5-gig for $125.

Wheat Ridge is Google’s third fiber-to-the-home city in the Rocky Mountain state, joining Lakewood and Westminster. According to Petrovic, construction in Lakewood will most likely start later this year.

“We haven't technically started building in Colorado, but we have built in a dozen other markets within the U.S. along with mountain towns like Salt Lake City, and we have quite a bit of experience in terms of execution,” Petrovic noted. "So I think we're going to be pretty comfortable by the time we get to Wheat Ridge.”

While Google Fiber’s toolkit can facilitate aerial and underground deployments, the company anticipates the majority of the Wheat Ridge network will be built underground. As the company goes through design engineering, they'll determine how to “most effectively build as much of Wheat Ridge as possible.”

The buildout has the potential to bring jobs to the area, although Petrovic said the exact number is difficult to quantify. Google will build an internal operation and sales GFiber team that “will come from the greater Colorado area,” but the company will also have its vendor base working on inspection, quality and permitting processes, all of which will help develop jobs.

“It's difficult to put a number around it, but it definitely will be a plus for the greater Denver area,” said Petrovic. The company has been active in the Denver area since 2017, providing gigabit speeds with the Google Fiber Webpass point-to-point wireless product.

Wheat Ridge is already host to some fiber providers, including Lumen’s CenturyLink available to about 50% of the city and Quantum Fiber available to 12.2%. Both fiber providers currently offer speeds up to 940 Mbps.

“As always, there's a healthy level of competition wherever we go. There are some incumbents, but it's no one that we haven't worked with in the past in terms of competing for customers, which we think is always healthy. The customers, at the end of the day, always win with additional competition,” said Petrovic.