CHICAGO (CBS) — The prospect of blindingly fast internet speeds for Chicago took a step toward reality on Tuesday as Google invited the city to consider adding the company’s fiber service.
The invitation by no means will result in Chicago actually adopting the fiber system. It is simply a first step to explore whether Chicago can meet the variety of standards needed to install Google Fiber.
It would be Google’s first entry into a major metropolitan area. The company also invited Los Angeles to join.
Currently, three cities–Provo, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.; and Austin, Texas–have Google Fiber, with several other cities set for implementation.
With Google Fiber, users will enjoy Internet speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second. At those speeds, users could download an HD movie in less than 10 seconds, or a game in about three seconds, Google says. Because serving content on the Internet is affected by a variety of factors, actual speeds will vary.
TV shows could be streamed in full quality high-definition. Google would also allow users to record eight shows as once, with massive amounts (500 hours) of storage.
In Austin, the high-speed Internet and TV package runs $130 month, while Internet-only runs $70. It took about 20 months from the initial announcement until Google began taking subscriptions.
Chicago would have to agree to a long checklist of requirements, including the ability to provide permits to install the fiber along existing infrastructure and build “Google Huts”–which are key distribution points for the network.
“As we kick off our usual checklist process, we’ll work closely with city leaders to collect detailed information about each metro area,” Google said in a blog post.
Comcast currently offers high speed service, available to 2.4 million homes, with download speeds advertised at 2,000 megabits per second, according to Jack Segal, Comcast vice president of corporate communications in Chicago.