In preparation for its launch as an internet provider in West Des Moines, Google Fiber has secured a new office and retail space in Valley Junction.
Google Fiber will occupy the ground floor of the nearly complete Junction House mixed-use building at 329 Fifth St. in the historic business district, according to leasing agent R&R Realty Group. Google expects to open in October.
West Des Moines is investing nearly $40 million in a partnership with Google Fiber to bring to the city the ultra-fast network that is available in only 18 other U.S. cities.
An agreement with the West Des Moines City Council names Google Fiber as the city’s first licensee for the network. Other providers are expected to be licensed later, providing what city officials envision as universal high-speed internet access with competitive prices.
After launching in the Kansas City metro in 2012, Google Fiber has expanded to tech hubs including Austin, Texas; Atlanta; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle. Now, it’s coming to West Des Moines, which has attracted other tech giants, including Microsoft, in recent years.
The project marks Google Fiber’s Iowa debut. The provider’s speeds of one gigabit per second are about 100 times faster than the average broadband connection in the U.S., and fiber optic internet rarely has the outages that can be common with cable connections.
“We’re very excited to settle in to our new offices in Valley Junction and get to know our neighbors,” Rachel Merlo, government and community affairs manager for Google Fiber, said in a statement. “Google Fiber is looking forward to connecting West Des Moines residents to fast, reliable internet later this year.”
According to its website, Google Fiber establishes Fiber Space locations in cities where the service is offered to help customers sign up or ask questions.
Last year, developers in Valley West demolished a two-story duplex to make way for the $3.8 million Junction House development. Its upper two stories will have a mix of 16 studio and 1-bedroom apartments available for rent. The first tenants are expected to move in April 1, said Tim Rypma, one of the building’s developers.
Mediacom is suing West Des Moines, accusing the city of misusing an Iowa law designed to bolster development of blighted areas as a mechanism to issue bonds for the underground conduit. It claims the city is promoting Google at the expense of existing telecommunication providers and without opening the project for competitive bids.