Re: Does Google use any federal subsidies for this? But keep in mind how long it took cable companies to do their original builds way back in the day. Basically, Google is having to do that, so it's going to take longer. Plus, this is their first significant fiber build, so that will also add to the time.
If Google decides to expand into other markets, expect them to staff up for such a project. And you may be correct about them getting a bunch of permits that they may or may not use. From a business perspective, there's a logic to it. At the moment, they don't know if Google Fiber will be a success, but they have to plan for the possibility that it will. That means having permits in hand so that, if things go well, they can quickly jump into other markets.