The broadband speed race continues with news that California based ISP Sonic.net intends to build a 1 Gbps FTTH network in San Francisco. If the bid is successful, San Francisco would join a growing list of markets, including Chattanooga and Kansas City, who are pushing the FTTH broadband envelope with various stages of 1 Gbps FTTH networks.

Sonic.net already operates a DSL network, branded as Fusion, offering both broadband and voice services throughout the Bay Area. They are also the underlying carrier for the Google 1 Gbps FTTH pilot at Stanford University. Their Sebastopol, Calif. customers have FTTH as well, and “… can choose service with one or two included phone lines, plus ultra high-speed broadband at 100Mbps for $39.95 or 1Gbps (1000Mbps) for $69.95.”

With this new initiative, they intend to initially overbuild a community of San Francisco of two thousand homes in the Sunset District. That would then follow a more robust city-wide effort, serving the city from 188 outdoor utility cabinets. The entire build would take approximately 5 years.

They have submitted their plans to the city and are awaiting a permit to build. Sonic.net would take on AT&T and Comcast with the offer. AT&T has had some recent struggles trying to roll out U-Verse in San Francisco.

If Sonic.net accomplishes this goal, it will be an interesting competitive laboratory to observe. The scrappy upstart with a 1 Gbps FTTH offer versus the two goliath communications conglomerates in one of the most high tech and affluent markets in the country. Should be fun to watch.