Charlotte City Council approves Google Fiber lease plans

Sample photo of a fiber hut provided to City Council
Sample photo of a fiber hut provided to City Council

Charlotte took its first concrete step toward the installation of ultra-high-speed fiber Internet service Monday, when the City Council authorized a 20-year lease with the tech giant Google for infrastructure sites.

The “fiber huts” would be distributed across the city, acting as critical substations for Google’s fiber optic network service. The company will install about 6,000 miles worth of fiber optic cables in Charlotte over the next two years.

Google said last month that it plans to install Google Fiber, with speeds up to 100 times that of normal broadband, in Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Atlanta and Nashville.

The company’s fiber huts would:

▪ Take about 1,400 square feet each.

▪ Cost Google $2 per square foot to rent, with the expectation that the company would pay about $56,000 per site over the course of its 20-year lease.

▪ Be located on properties with no higher use, such as free land on wastewater treatment facilities, fire stations, cellphone towers and city maintenance facilities. City staff has identified 17 locations and needs to find four more. An initial presentation showed fiber huts in sites such as the former Eastland Mall, two water treatment plants and the police and fire training academy, but city staff said the proposed sites have changed significantly.

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Twitter: @ESPortillo