Portland is one of nine metropolitan areas where Google is looking to expand its high-speed internet service. The company has been rolling out its service — called Google Fiber — in Kansas City since 2011, and has recently begun pilots in Provo, UT and Austin, TX. Progress in Kansas City has been slower than expected, but Google has now completed much of the network in the Kansas side of the city, with the Missouri side coming along as well.
Fiber relies on fiber-optic cables to transmit information, which allows data to be transferred about 100 times faster than the usual copper wiring of a phone line. What exactly that could be used for remains an open question (high definition video streaming would only use a fraction of the potential) but Google hopes once the infrastructure is established, applications will be created that use it to its full capacity.