This Venn diagram shows which cities may get a gig (and why broadband competition matters)

For those of you eagerly awaiting your gigabit fiber-to-the-home broadband service, check out the third annual report from the Gig.U effort. The report, which came out on Monday, shows how much has changed in the three years since Gig U. was created as a means to bring gigabit connectivity to university towns.

Like us, the creators of the project believe the future is in fiber and faster connections. And while the report is very clear that many of these projects are still in the planning and press release stages (I call it gigawashing when I’m feeling frustrated) it offers a nice rundown of all the projects currently happening.

And reading the report, it’s clear there are two things driving the expansion of gigabit services. The first is a willingness by municipalities to act as a partner, not an impediment, and work with providers to get fiber in the ground acting . And the second is competition.

Chart provided by Gig.U.

Chart provided by Gig.U.

As the chart above from the Gig.U report shows, there are few cities getting a gig from one provider. The report credits [company]Google[/company] with promoting the idea of a gigabit service and getting communities and consumers excited, but it also has galvanized the incumbent cable and telco providers to upgrade their networks (or at least promise to upgrade their networks). So while, we’re not anywhere near gigabit service in every community, or even in most of the communities listed in the chart, we’re getting closer, and it’s because Google unleashed some real competition in the market.

And frankly, as the FCC and the FTC consider the upcoming purchase of [company]Time Warner Cable[/company] by [company]Comcast[/company], they should note that so far, Comcast isn’t a name on this particular diagram.