Gigabit internet is awesome. And elusive.
Gigabit ethernet speed is equal to 1,048,576 bits per second or 1,024 Mbps. For comparison: “fast ethernet” is considered to be 100 Mbps, which is still much faster than standard internet service that’s normally 10 Mbps (like the kind you’d get from Time Warner or Comcast cable), or even 3 Mbps which are found at the lower & cheaper (and most common) tiers of internet service.
While such crazy fast Gigabit connections are available to governments, educational institutions, and large businesses, it’s difficult to get such a fast connection for regular public use. For instance Santa Monica, CA has a 10 Gigabit network, but that’s mostly allocated for business use. There are a few places in America, however, where gigabit internet connections are starting to pop up – and ones that are accessible to regular internet surfers like you and me. This post is an attempt to hunt down all the places in America that have such connections (or are currently getting them installed).
A lot of cities across America are taking matters into their own hands and starting to install their own Gigabit networks as part of economic development initiatives and as way to attract the tech industry and companies that can use that advantage for competitive purposes.
The following is a collection of cities and places that have gigabit connections inside the US:
1. Kansas City, KS / MO
Google Fiber – After a long bidding process, Google selected Kansas City and has now begun deploying the first major consumer-based Gigabit network in the US. You can read more about that here and here.
2. Chattanooga, TN
GIG City – Chattanooga has dubbed itself GIGcity and is making a bug push to become a tech hub, bolstered by what it claims is America’s largest Gigabit network that serves all residents and businesses.
3. Lafayette, LA
LUS Fiber – Lafayette recently joined the ranks of super connected cities by rolling out a Gigabit fiber network after winning a long fight with Cox Cable and BellSouth, the city’s incumbent service providers.
4. East Lansing, MI
5. Bristol, VA / TN
BTES – The city of Bristol, (which sits between Virginia and Tennessee) has deployed Gigabit internet service to its residents in a 280-square-mile service area, helping make Tennessee a current hotspot for ultra high speed internet service.
6. Morristown, TN
MUS FiberNET – While Morisstown has never achieved as much recognition as Kansas City or Chattanooga, the city does offer Gigabit speed to businesses at $849 per month (residential plans go up to 20/10 according to the provider’s website).
7. Burlington, VT
Burlington Telecom – Burlington VT rounds out the list of cities that currently offer residential gigabit speeds. The muni network charges $149.00 per month for gigabit access (with a 12 month contract; $199 without a contract).
8. Springfield, VT
9. Omaha, NE
CenturyLink announced that by October 2013 it will have gigabit speeds available to 48,000 residents for $149.99 per month. Currently their website isn’t showing those options but reportedly it is available now to about 10,000 subscribers.
10. Tullahoma, TN
11. Minneapolis, MN
12. Cedar Falls, Iowa
Cedar Falls Utilities has launched a gigabit “FiberHome Quantum” tier to their home internet service for around $270 per month. The download speed is rated at gigabit while the upload speed is rated at 500 Mbps (so it’s not a symmetrical gigabit connection like Google Fiber).
12. Seattle, WA
While Gigabit Squared is getting ready to roll out Gigabit internet service to Seattle for $80 per month, some condos already have gigabit service thanks to a company called CondoInternet for $120 per month. Gigabit Squared is going to make the service available to a lot more people thanks to the Gigabit Seattle project (see map).
1. Chicago, IL
Gigabit Squared – Chicago’s mayor recently announced the Chicago Broadband Challenge to bring high speed infrastructure to the city, which will also piggyback free WiFi access to all public spaces such as parks and plazas. Gigabit Squared is also rolling out gigabit access to Chicago’s South side that’s part of Gig.U’s initiative (see below). Added: Gigabit service will also be available in fall of 2013 to several residential buildings in Chicago thanks to MAC Property Management.
2. San Francisco, CA
Sonic.net – In San Francisco you can currently get 200 Mbps for $50 per month with Webpass but a company called Sonic.net is currently clearing regulatory hurdles to start offering Gigabit internet to local residents.
3. Austin, TX
Google Fiber will be coming to Austin in mid-2014.
4. Provo, UT
Google Fiber will also be rolled out in Provo, Utah but no set dates hae yet been announced.
5. Lawrence, Kansas
A company by the name of Wicked Broadband has announced that it will soon be offering gigabit-speed Wicked Fiber services to neighborhoods with the most demand measured by the number of people who pre-register.
6. Wilson, North Carolina
The local broadband provider Greenlight (owned & operated by the City of Wilson) recently announced that it will begin offering gigabit Internet services to its customers by July 2013.
6. Melrose, Minnesota
Arvig, a local ISP, is slated to start offering gigabit service to some residents of rural Melrose starting in the summer of 2013, but customers will need to call to order the service – and the price is slated to be $300 per month for a gig (with lower pricing for slower connections).
7. Rural Central Missouri
Residential 1 gigabit service will be available in rural Missouri starting this fall (2013). Service areas include California, MO, Sunrise Beach, MO, Laurie, MO, and Gravois Mills, MO. The service provider that is bringing this fiber to the home network to the area is Co-Mo Electric Cooperative, Inc (see press release here).
+ Gig U. Partners
Gig.U – The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project is a collaborative effort between 30+ research universities across the United States to bring Gigabit internet to the universities as well as to their surrounding communities. Most of the cities below are in the process of deploying Gigabit internet connections, but have not yet made them available to the public or local businesses. Also, it’s worth mentioning that pricing for gigabit speed will vary greatly from project to project.
Here are a few cities that have recently gotten coverage in the news about their gigabit networks:
A map of Gig.U partners:
The full list of partners:
- Arizona State University
- Case Western Reserve
- Colorado State University
- Duke University
- Howard University
- Indiana University
- Michigan State University
- North Carolina State University
- Penn State University
- University of Alaska
- University of Chicago
- University of Florida
- University of Hawaii
- University of Illinois
- University of Kentucky
- University of Louisville
- University of Maryland
- University of Michigan
- University of Missouri
- University of Montana
- University of New Mexico
- University of North Carolina
- University of South Florida
- University of Virginia
- University of Washington
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
- Wake Forest University
- West Virginia University
- George Mason University
- Florida State University
- University of Arizona
- California Institute of Technology
- University of Nebraska – Lincoln
- University of Maine
- University of Colorado
- University of Oklahoma
To read more about how some of the cities managed to develop these Gigabit networks check out Broadband at the Speed of Light and their PDF report. There’s also a handy community broadband map to see which areas offer community fiber broadband.
It’s an exciting time to see so many communities across the US fighting to deploy next generation Gigabit networks to help make America a leader in high speed connectivity.