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Google Fiber coming to Hillsborough, construction to begin in April

20220504_Pittman_WiFi-1.jpg
DTH Photo Illustration. Google Fiber announced plans to expand their high-speed broadband internet service to Hillsborough earlier this month.

Google Fiber announced plans to expand their high-speed broadband internet service to Hillsborough earlier this month — construction will likely begin in April.

The service first came to the Triangle in 2015 when Google announced plans to install fiber optic lines throughout Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro. At the time, Hillsborough was not an included municipality. 

“Back when they announced that they were going to be going to our neighboring municipalities in the southern part of the county, we reached out to see if we might be able to get in on that also,” Mayor of Hillsborough Jenn Weaversaid. “At the time we were told it just wasn't part of their plan.”

Matt Hughes, mayor pro tem for Hillsborough, said the town is closely tied to the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area in terms of education and jobs. He said expanding the Google Fiber service to a smaller, interconnected community like Hillsborough was likely an attractive decision for Google.

Hillsborough residents have expressed a need for more reliable high-speed internet services. Weaver said the reliance on remote work during the pandemic exacerbated this need.

“Having more options for high-speed internet has been something that I know that I and my fellow elected officials in Hillsborough have been hearing as a need from our businesses and residents for several years,” Weaver said. “It certainly was amplified during the pandemic.”

Catherine Wright, Hillsborough communications manager, said in an email that installation construction is expected to start next month and take roughly one year. Wright added that the work will be done in sections so the duration in one area will be shorter.

“Work will occur in rights of way, likely near the roadway,” Wright said in the email. “A public right of way is designated between most streets and the adjacent private property. The rights of way typically are about 8 feet from the road toward the home but can be greater.”

She said the construction hours will typically be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. On private property and public rights of way, residents can expect installation to take three to five business days. Property should be restored to its original condition after construction.

Google Fiber and its subcontractors will use minimally-invasive trenching machinery that can help in avoiding tree roots and existing underground utilities, Wright said. 

Hughes said Google will deliver door hangers before construction starts in neighborhoods. Hillsborough notified residents in their utility bills this month.

“Getting the word out so folks can plan to minimize the disruption as much as possible is going to be hugely, hugely important,” he said.

Wright stated that once installed, Google Fiber’s services will bring connection speeds of one gigabit per second or higher, which should bring more services and capabilities to residents and businesses in Hillsborough.

Hughes said he thinks the service will be a huge game changer for the local economy. In addition to businesses and homes, some more rural parts of Hillsborough will also benefit.

“I think it's going to really give people opportunity to be competitive and also open a lot more doors because it's not just going to be Hillsborough residents that are going to be served by this,” he said. “There will be some outlying areas as well that will be served by this project.”

Weaver said she thinks high-speed internet makes the town a more attractive location to businesses that are considering opening in Hillsborough.

“Just having another solution to being able to connect reliably is something that our community really needs,” Weaver said.

@carlybreland

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com


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