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The Daily Tar Heel

Hillsborough will not receive Google Fiber installation

Google Fiber is the technology company’s latest broadband service, offering a connection speed up to 100 times faster than basic broadband.

On Jan. 27, Google announced that Google Fiber infrastructure will be installed in seven towns in the Raleigh-Durham area, including Chapel Hill, Durham and Carrboro.

Hillsborough, which is only 14 miles from Chapel Hill, did not receive the Google Fiber services.

“We’re one of America’s coolest small towns, and it’s a very historical but hip place that’s right on the edge of the Triangle,” said Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens.

“It’s of course disappointing that we won’t have the availability of the Internet services that Google Fiber will provide.”

Stevens said one reason why Google might have decided not to bring the service to Hillsborough is the town’s location.

“I assume it was strictly a geographic or marketing area decision,” he said.

Sharyn Arai, owner of K’s Closet Custom Boutique in Hillsborough, said the town’s size could have also played a role in Google’s decision.

“I personally think that Hillsborough is an up-and-coming town that deserves it, but coming from Google’s perspective, I understand that we don’t necessarily have the high-density population to support it,” Arai said.

Arai said Google Fiber would help her business and increase her free time.

“It would increase my productivity, which is always helpful,” Arai said.

“I am a small, one-mom operation here, and any speed that I get increases the time I get with my kids.”

Stevens said while other mayors in the Triangle area were supportive of Hillsborough receiving the service, the decision ultimately came down to Google.

“When we first got wind that this area might be included, we certainly worked with our fellow mayors to say, ‘Please make sure we are included,’” Stevens said.

“And then from Google, it was just, ‘No, you’re not.’”

Stevens said Google did not communicate substantially with the town.

“We knew that there were meetings that were happening,” Stevens said.

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“We’ve certainly expressed our interest and it was pretty much, ‘We’ll call you.’”

Christopher McGhee, owner of Christopher Rand Construction in Hillsborough, said the service would help his business with communication and that the town seems fit for Google Fiber.

“I really wouldn’t understand why they wouldn’t bring it, being that there is a huge influx of new construction in Hillsborough,” McGhee said.

Stevens said the town would continue to initiate new services for its residents.

“There’s a limited amount that we could do about it at this point, but we will continue to look for opportunities for these services,” he said.

Stevens said Hillsborough is a great place to live, work and visit.

“We have a lot of entrepreneurs here — and artists, and folks who live in the Triangle and who would certainly benefit by having that high-speed connection,” he said.

“I hear it’s very cool.”

city@dailytarheel.com