TAMPA (FOX 13)
Mayor Bob Buckhorn made a big announcement Wednesday: Google Fiber could be coming to Tampa. The company is exploring the city as one of a handful in the country to get the service.
When it comes to cable and internet, Google Fiber could be a real game changer. Its bragging point is internet speed, touted as being about a hundred times faster than the average connection.
But when you look at the bigger picture, faster internet could mean new companies and new jobs.
"The future of the internet will be built right here," said Google Fiber Lead Regional Expansion Director Brien Bell.
It has city leaders excited. Here's why: The average internet speed in the U.S. is about 12 megabits per second. Google Fiber could accelerate Tampa to 1000 megabits per second, about a hundred times faster.
"We will need to build thousands of miles of infrastructure as we build a new network," Bell said. "That kind of project requires us to collaborate very closely with city hall and work on things like permitting construction, scheduling, infrastructure placement, and much more."
Google Fiber chose Tampa for a few reasons. They say it's a fast-growing city with a thriving entrepreneurial sector. They also say it has strong leaders, committed to digital inclusion and making this partnership work.
From a business standpoint, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said it gives Tampa a leg up on other cities.
"It allows us to grow more jobs, to attract better companies because having access to the ability to move data really one of the things they will go through in the checklist as they look to relocate potential companies here," Buckhorn said. "It's a big deal."
From a residential standpoint, he said it means access. In Austin, a recent Google Fiber city, just internet up to 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps) is $70 per month. Basic internet with up to 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds is free with a $300 construction fee.
"Just imagine what a kid in North Boulevard Homes or Robles Park, may not have access to the internet, first and foremost, who will now have access to 1 gig capacity and be able to explore a whole new world he or she doesn't know anything about," Buckhorn said.
While most people we asked had to Google the term "Google Fiber," those who have, are optimistic and excited.
"I feel like anybody would enjoy doing their job a little bit faster than what they're currently doing," Brendan Callahan said. "Time is precious. I think the more quickly you can get through a task, the better for everybody."
There's no timeline for if or when Google Fiber could be here, or how far it would reach outside the city. There are still many hurdles to go before it's made official. Google has to explore things like Tampa's roads, permitting and infrastructure before anybody starts digging.
You can click here for updates about Google Fiber in Tampa.