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Google Fiber Is Now Available In Select Louisville Neighborhoods

John Cummings/Creative Commons

Residents in three Louisville neighborhoods can begin signing up for Google Fiber ultra high speed internet.

The service is now available in the Portland, Newburg and Belknap areas, said Ashley Kroh, a spokeswoman for the company's southeast region. The availability comes months after city officials announced Google Fiber would begin installing fiber infrastructure.

City records show Google Fiber and the company's subcontractors have been issued more than 40 construction permits for work related to installing the infrastructure. Permits were first issued at the end of May.

Kroh said the build-out in Louisville has been the "fastest in the nation" due to the ability to install infrastructure via shallow trenches in roadways.

Currently, Google Fiber is available in 11 U.S. cities, including Louisville,  according to the company's website.

City officials aggressively courtedGoogle Fiber since the ultra high speed Internet service provider first expressed interest in exploring an expansion to Louisville more than two years ago.

Google Fiber, and the Internet service it provides, is considered a catalyst for economic growth. The service has already proven to be a spark for competition among service providers. AT&T and Time Warner both began rolling out fiber service shortly after Google expressed Interest in expanding to the city.

In Louisville, local lawmakers approved a controversial ordinance to help attract Google Fiber. The move drew a lawsuit from telecommunications giant AT&T -- which was dismissed in August.

The so-called “one-touch make ready” policy allows contractors to rearrange existing equipment as long as they submit certain notices to the owners of the equipment and the utility pole.

Kroh said the ordinance gave Google Fiber "increased level of confidence in a city that was on the rise."

"It was a huge step for the country," she said.

But despite the fight that came from the ordinance, Kroh said the company has yet to lean on the ability granted via the change in law.

She also said the company will depend on fiber cabling to connect homes -- not wireless hook-ups.

Kroh declined to say where the company plans to build next. She also didn't say just how many miles of fiber cabling has been laid in Louisville.

She did say the company's plan is to hook up the entire city.

Scott Pluta, who works for Google Fiber as the Louisville manager, said the focus is "laser-like" on residential -- not commercial.

No one is officialy signed-up yet, he said, but he expects that to change this week.

As for projections, he declined to say just how many people he expects to opt for Google Fiber.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.