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Google Fiber 'Exploring' Bringing High-Speed Internet To Jacksonville

"Let's Bring Super Fast Internet To" sign
Google Fiber

Jacksonville is poised to be one of the next cities with super-fast Internet service from Google.

Mayor Lenny Curry announced Wednesday the tech giant is exploring the Bold City for its Google Fiber connection.

But, it could be several months before Jacksonville residents will know whether they can sign up for the service.

Google Fiber’s Ashley Kroh says the exploratory process is in its infancy. But she says Google has never gotten this far with a city and not gone all the way.

“Let me put it to you like this: we’ve never said ‘no’ to a city,” Kroh says. “So we have started the process with cities across the country, some of which we’ve announced, some of which we’re still working closely with to get them to the announcement phase.”

If the Google greenlights Fiber in Jacksonville — and the city approves the necessary permits — customers could pay $70 for Internet and $130 for a package including cable TV — comparable to prices for much slower services available now.

Google Fiber’s speed allows users to download an entire Blu-ray movie in less than seven minutes. Comcast announced in April it was offering its Gigabit Pro, which is two-times as fast. However, Gigabit Pro is significantly more expensive at a regular rate of $299.95 a month. Customers are also required to foot the bill for installation and must live within a third of a mile of existing fiber cables. Right now, if someone agrees to a three-year contract, that price drops to $159.95. A Comcast representative would not say how many residential customers currently use their service.

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Credit Ryan Benk / WJCT News
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WJCT News
Mayor Lenny Curry says the Google Fiber announcement isn't just about entertainment; it's big business for Jacksonville.

Mayor Curry says Google's speed and accessibility will only help grow the city’s reputation as an up-and-coming tech incubator.

“This isn't just about entertainment,” Curry says. “So, it’s obviously about the ability to do your work, but when you’re also talking about people wanting to relocate and work in Jacksonville, particularly highly-skilled people that are working hard, they also have to have work-life balance and part of that is being able to do whatever it is they do in their free time.”

Google says Jacksonville is on step one of five. The next step will be designing the layout of fiber cables. 

Correction: A previous iteration of this story stated Google Fiber would be the fastest speed available in Jacksonville. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.