portland Stories March 23, 2015

The process of bringing Google Fiber to new markets is a lengthy and messy political one as we’ve seen since the initiative first started in mid-2012. Google’s map of potential Fiber cities shared just over a year ago is mostly unchanged save for the southeast region moving to the upcoming Fiber cities category earlier this year.

Local government in Portland, a potential Fiber city on Google’s radar, actually unanimously approved plans for Fiber shortly after Google shared its potential expansion cities. More recently, though, Oregon lawmakers have created minor road blocks ahead of Fiber’s possible expansion to Portland. The kicker here is that the proposed legislation was actually intended to make Portland more appealing to Google… expand full story

portland Stories November 7, 2014

Second Google barge mystery solved: the reason they were scrapped …

First we had the mystery about why Google was building floating structures on a set of barges based in San Francisco and Portland, before Google finally revealed that they were to become “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology.”

Then we had the equally mysterious apparent cancellation of the project, with one of the barges sold for scrap and another sitting unused on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The WSJ used Freedom of Information Act requests to get hold of documents which seem to provide an explanation: email correspondence suggests that Google was unable to satisfy the Coast Guard’s fire-safety concerns.

“These vessels will have over 5,000 gallons of fuel on the main deck and a substantial amount of combustible material on board,” warned Robert Gauvin, the Coast Guard’s acting chief of commercial vessel compliance, in a March 27, 2013 email to the contractor, Foss Maritime Co.

Google argued that the barges would have no more than 150 people on board at any one time, despite estimating a total of 1200 visitors a day, but the Coast Guard was unimpressed.

“I am unaware of any measures you plan to use to actually limit the number of passengers,” Mr. Gauvin wrote in the March 27 email about fire safety. He criticized the effort by Google and Foss to seek quick approvals. “While I understand there is a sense of urgency, I am concerned that significant work has already been performed without full consent of the Coast Guard.”

portland Stories August 1, 2014

Well, that was an anti-climax. After all kinds of speculation about why Google was building floating structures on a set of barges based in San Francisco and Portland, with Google finally revealing in not too much detail that they were to become “interactive spaces where people can learn about new technology,” it turns out that at least one of them is being sold for scrap.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the 250-foot Google barge that has been sitting in Portland Harbour since last October is now being sold and the container building sitting on it will be scrapped …  expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

portland Stories June 11, 2014

Earlier this year we told you that a number of additional cities were on the map for Google Fiber’s super high-speed Internet service including Portland, Oregon. Today, Portland’s City Council voted unanimously in approval of bringing Google’s gigabit Internet service to the area, The Oregonian reports. While the Portland commissioners did deliver approval for Google Fiber’s terms of the deal, the report notes that Google will “decide by the end of the year” if it will deliver on servicing Portland… expand full story

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