Why 2016 looks like a breakthrough year for Google Fiber

When it first launched in Kansas City, Google Fiber wasn’t seen as a threat to cable ISPs such as Comcast or Time Warner, even though many have been clamoring for more broadband competition. Google has been making progress on expanding to more markets and it now looks set to really break through.
First, it seems 2016 will be the year when Google decides to expand not just to medium-sized cities but to truly giant markets. We learned earlier this month that Google Fiber is looking into expanding into Los Angeles and Chicago, two of America’s biggest cities.
Los Angeles has a population of 3.8 million with a metropolitan area of an estimated 18.5 million people, making it the second largest city in the U.S. in terms of population. Chicago, meanwhile, is America’s third biggest city in terms of population with an estimated 2.7 million people.
No offense to Kansas City, Austin and Provo, but Los Angeles and Chicago are just in a whole other league. The fact that Google has eyes on expanding to both those cities indicates it has bigger ambitions than I imagined when Google Fiber first came to Kansas City back in 2012.
Second, as Business Insider notes, Google Fiber just made a very important hire of Gabriel Stricker into “a new role running policy and communications for the group.” There’s little chance that Google would have made such a hire if it still saw Fiber as a moonshot experiment aimed only at showing rival ISPs that it’s possible to offer customers high-speed services at affordable prices. Instead, it’s now looking at Fiber as a real business.
All that said, there’s still a lot of work left for Google to do.