Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Construction Update

A few weeks ago we announced that we’d started hanging fiber on utility poles throughout Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. Construction is now in full swing and our crews have already hung over 100 miles of fiber!

To get a better idea of how our build has been going so far, I sat down with John Toccalino, a manager on our fiber project and asked him a few questions.

Q: So, John, first can you give a quick explanation about how Google Fiber will work?

A: Sure. Here’s a basic diagram of our network. As you can see, we’ll be routing fiber connection into Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO through several equipment aggregator huts, aka “Google Fiber Huts.” From the Google Fiber Huts, the fiber cables will travel along utility poles into neighborhoods and homes.

The benefit of this model is simple: every home that has Google Fiber service will have their very own fiber-optic cable that directly connects all the way back to the Internet backbone.

A diagram of the basic Google Fiber infrastructure.

Q: I see a label on your diagram, “Gigabit Symmetric Fiber Connectivity.” What does that mean?

A: Well, with most standard broadband connections, it is much faster to download a file than it is to upload one of the same size. That’s because most of the bandwidth, or the network’s capacity, is devoted to the content that users are trying to view online, such as their email or streaming video on sites like YouTube.

But with Google Fiber, our users will be able to download and upload files at the exact same speed. Think about being able to upload that huge powerpoint presentation you made for work, or that video of your child’s first steps in mere seconds!

Q: Very cool. Now let’s get to the nuts and bolts of what’s happening right now. What are the Google Fiber construction crews busy doing?

A: We’re working on 2 pieces of fiber infrastructure right now: installing fiber and building the Google Fiber Huts.

Most of our crews are out on boom trucks every day, hanging fiber on utility poles throughout Kansas City. A few of our crews are also busy digging trenches to install fiber underground.

We’re making good progress on the Google Fiber Huts as well—we’ve already built half of them!

Q: Where exactly have the crews been working?

A: We’re not focused in any one location. We’re working throughout Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO!

Q: What’s the next step in construction?

A: Well, we still have a while before infrastructure is complete. Kansas City is big, and we have to hang fiber throughout almost all of it. Once we’re done with that, we can move to the next step where we’ll be connecting fiber to homes.

A Google Fiber crew gets ready to hang fiber cables from a Kansas City utility pole.