google fiber triple playGoogle Fiber is coming to Iowa, thanks to the city of West Des Moines. It’s a tad surprising, given Google Fiber’s fairly low key nature in the past few years.

West Des Moines has approved a measure to build an open access conduit network, creating a private-public partnership to bring high speed internet to all its residents and businesses. Google Fiber has committed to be the first “tenant” for the municipality’s network.

Google Fiber Iowa
According to a Des Moines Register report, West Des Moines plans to invest up to $40 million in the project, and will invite other ISPs to join Google Fiber on the open access network. Google Fiber will pay the city $2.25 for each fiber connection on its network over a twenty year period, with a minimum commitment of $4.5 million.

Google Fiber launched to great fanfare about a decade ago (yes it’s been about ten years) and contributed greatly to the debut of gigabit internet service for the mainstream. The move was very high profile and very controversial. But after that high profile start, Google’s initial ISP aspirations slowed considerably.

Google Fiber now operates in parts of several major cities including Kansas City, Austin, Nashville, Atlanta, and others. Google pivoted a bit to fixed wireless with its acquisition of Webpass. Google Fiber and/or Webpass are now available in 18 markets.

google fiber markets
Google Fiber/Webpass Markets (Source: Google Fiber website)

Google Fiber Iowa is not the provider’s first pass at public-private partnerships. In its Huntsville, Alabama market, Google Fiber leases fiber from municipally owned Huntsville Utilities.

Google Fiber offers gigabit internet for $70/month. It also offers TV and phone service. There are no annual contracts or data caps.

What’s Next?
Google Fiber hasn’t announced a new market in over four years. Is there a shift at the company and will we see more launches like this? In a company blog post, David Finn, Director of Corporate Development hints that maybe Google Fiber Iowa may not be the last new market.

“When it comes to the internet, people in this country have been underserved for far too long. Cities and companies can work together to change that — and that’s our goal. And we’re excited to take the next step forward in Iowa,” said Finn.

Makes you wonder if there will be a next step. And if so, where?

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