April 11, 2013
Google announced plans to expand its broadband services to Austin, Texas. The company said that Google Fiber installations will begin by mid-2014. The city, with a population of over 800,000 people, initially expressed interest in the ultrafast Internet and video service back in 2011. The move marks the first expansion of Google Fiber beyond its launching point in the Kansas City area.
“We believe the Internet’s next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, and we hope this new Google Fiber city will inspire communities across America to think about what ultrafast connectivity could mean for them,” wrote Milo Medin, VP of Access Services, on the company’s Google Fiber blog (the post includes a 2-minute promotional video).
“We had a city government and municipal [power] utility that wanted to improve broadband in the city, and those things haven’t changed,” said Chip Rosenthal, a software programmer in Austin who helped organize support for Google Fiber in 2011.
Google Fiber has created an extensive program for its customers. Currently, Kansas City users pay $70 per month for Internet only. Their Internet service offers speeds of five megabits per second. Customers can also have the option of a cable and broadband package for $120 per month. This gives consumers the ability to record up to 500 hours of content through their DVR player, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“A 2011 survey of 1,700 Austin residents conducted by the city government and University of Texas at Austin showed that 94 percent had Internet access at home, largely through broadband connections,” notes WSJ. “Google likely will be able to reduce its costs by piggybacking on utility poles and other municipal infrastructure to build out the network.”
Medin offers this advice for those interested in an ultrafast broadband future: “If you’re a city leader and you’re looking for some help making your city gigabit-friendly, have a look at this video from the FCC’s March 2013 Workshop on Gigabit Community Broadband Networks for steps you can take towards your own gigabit-powered future.”