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Google Fiber bets on Las Vegas for Nevada debut

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas. Local government records have finally confirmed what we pretty much already knew: Google Fiber is targeting Las Vegas as its first city in Nevada.

“We're hopeful that the Clark County Commission will approve our franchise agreement — that will allow us to start the construction process in unincorporated Clark County, Nevada. We're looking forward to next week's vote, and ultimately to bringing fast, reliable internet to the Las Vegas metro area,” a Google Fiber representative told Fierce Telecom.

Government records for Clark County – where Las Vegas is located – show Google Fiber submitted an application for a 10-year public utility franchise agreement there on December 7, 2023. County rules require such contracts to go through both a first reading, during which the public is made aware of its existence, and a second reading, during which the public can comment on the item before a final vote is held.

The proposed contract first appeared before the Clark County Board of Commissioners on January 2, 2024 as part of the council’s consent agenda (which includes items that can be approved without discussion). A second reading and opportunity for public comment is set to be held next week on Tuesday, February 6.

Google Fiber has been working on this deal for some time now. In June 2023, the operator filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for permission to operate as a telecommunications provider in the state. It received approval in August before going on to submit its application with the county. There are about 400,000 households in unincorporated Clark County and about 830,000 in all of Clark County.

Winding road

In August 2022, the operator announced plans to expand to five new states over the coming years. It subsequently revealed build plans for Arizona (Mesa and Chandler), Colorado (Lakewood and Westminster), Nebraska (Omaha) and Idaho (Pocatello). Nevada was the only expansion state for which Google Fiber never named a target market.

There were, however, hints that it would be Las Vegas. Last February, Google Fiber GM of Expansion Markets Mark Strama told Fierce it was engaged with five jurisdictions in the same metro area. Las Vegas has five licensing jurisdictions within the city.

It won’t be the only newcomer in several of its expansion markets. Gigapower, the fiber joint venture AT&T formed with private equity firm BlackRock, locked in franchise agreements in Mesa, Chandler and Las Vegas in late 2022/early 2023.

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