Residential customers in the Highland Creek area can now sign up for Google Fiber, company representatives said. Next up after that: Prosperity Village, which will open for sign-ups this year. kperalta@charlotteobserver.com
Residential customers in the Highland Creek area can now sign up for Google Fiber, company representatives said. Next up after that: Prosperity Village, which will open for sign-ups this year. kperalta@charlotteobserver.com

Business

Google Fiber now available in Charlotte, starting in Highland Creek

By Katherine Peralta

kperalta@charlotteobserver.com

July 12, 2016 10:15 AM

UPDATED July 12, 2016 09:09 PM

Google Fiber is now available in Charlotte.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based tech company made the highly anticipated announcement Tuesday morning at its new “Google Fiber” space, the refurbished former home of Dixie’s Tavern near the 7th Street Public Market uptown.

Residential customers in the Highland Creek area can now sign up for Google Fiber, company representatives said. The two complexes ready there are Mill Pond Apartments and Reserve at Stone Hollow, and residents have until Sept. 1 to sign up.

Next up after that: Prosperity Village, which will open for sign-ups this year.

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Service sign-ups will come on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis throughout the city as the construction progresses, though Google Fiber says it’s hard to say yet when exactly it’ll be available to all of Charlotte.

“We have a lot left to do,” said Mary Ellen Player, Google Fiber’s city manager for Charlotte. The high-speed service, which Google Fiber says is 100 times faster than normal broadband, will eventually be available everywhere within the Charlotte city limits.

The project, which kicked off early last year, has heated up competition for high-speed service here. Both AT&T and Time Warner Cable have been rolling out faster speeds in the city. One year ago, AT&T launched its GigaPower service in the Charlotte area, and it’s now available in homes, small businesses and more than 60 area apartment complexes, spokesman Josh Gelinas said.

For Google Fiber, currently most of the city is in the pre-construction phase, meaning the company is doing preliminary project work such as locating gas and sewer lines.

Google Fiber officials said Tuesday that the company will offer broadband plans starting at $15 a month. It will also offer 1,000 megabits of speed at no cost to select low-income housing properties throughout Charlotte.

Player said the company will provide an update about those two offerings later this year. And in addition to high-speed service to residential customers, Player said Google Fiber is debuting a suite of high-speed products for small businesses.

Google Fiber’s new uptown space overlooking First Ward Park will double as its customer service hub that’s open to the public. It still has an older look about it, with tall wooden support beams and exposed brick walls. About 6,000 square feet of its downstairs space will be available for hosting events.

Starting Wednesday, the space is open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m. It is closed on Sundays.

Contractors have been busily laying over 3,000 miles of fiber-optic cables throughout Charlotte neighborhoods over the past several months. The construction has prompted some disruptions such as broken gas lines but also excitement among residents anticipating faster internet service.

Google Fiber said in January 2015 that it was bringing its high-speed service to Charlotte as well as three other metro areas: Nashville, Tenn., Atlanta and Raleigh.

Google Fiber already operates in the Kansas City area; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah.

Charlotte presented with Google eCities Award

One of 50 cities across nation to earn the award which recognizes the strongest online business community in each state

DAVID T. FOSTER III dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta