By Ethan Baron
MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google’s plan to bring ultrahigh-speed Internet service to the Bay Area has run into a decidedly nontech hurdle: utility poles.
To roll out Google Fiber in five Silicon Valley cities, the tech giant needs access to the poles for stringing up fiber cable. But in several cities a who’s who of Google competitors are standing in the way.
The outcome of the pole fight is likely to have a profound effect on which communities get Google Fiber and which don’t.
“The infrastructure needs to be mostly above ground,” said MoffettNathanson Research analyst Craig Moffett. “You can’t proceed … if you don’t have pole access.”
Similar battles have played out in other cities across the nation, slowing Google’s multibillion-dollar program while competitors push forward with their own gigabit-speed offerings. Gigabit speed is 1,000 megabits per second — more than 30 times faster than the average residential download speed in California, according to the Federal Communications Commission.