Better late than never. Google's ultrafast Internet service, Google Fiber, will launch in Austin, Texas, in December -- about three months behind the company’s original schedule. Austin will be the third location for Google Fiber. The service came to Kansas City, Mo., first and then Provo, Utah.
Google confirmed that residents in the south and southeast region of Austin will be able to sign up for its gigabit Internet service. The sign-up process starts in December, a Google spokeswoman said Wednesday.
"We'll expand from there -- over time, all of Austin will have a chance to sign up for gigabit speeds," according to Google. "We don't have a precise timeline on installations, but right now we're doing a lot of heavy construction so that we can get Austinites hooked up as quickly as possible."
Beaten to the Punch
Google announced plans to expand Google Fiber into Austin last year, and said at the time that the city would get service in mid-2014. The delay has allowed competitors such as like AT&T U-verse to introduce gigabit Internet in Austin first.
Google Fiber offers Internet speeds of 1 gigabit per second, about 100 times the U.S. average. As companies, including Google, have found out, building fiber-optic networks from scratch is not easy. In late September, Google announced that its construction crews had started laying more than 3,000 miles of cables underground and on thousands of utility poles throughout Austin.
That process requires the use of huge drills to tunnel through Austin’s limestone as well as the use of sonar detection to keep from hitting existing infrastructure and utilities in the ground.
Rallies on the Way?
The sign-up process for Austin residents will be similar to the one Google Fiber used in Kansas City. That process included "rallies" in small neighborhoods where residents could pre-register online by paying a $10 fee. If a certain percentage of residents signed up, generally at least 5 percent, Google connected the area.
That process came under fire from some Kansas City community activists, who say it contributed to low levels of Google Fiber penetration in some poorer, minority areas of the city. A survey of six low-income Kansas City neighborhoods that appeared the Wall Street Journal found that that only 10 percent of residents subscribed to Google’s Fiber service and another 5 percent got the slower version.
Google wouldn’t say how much Google Fiber will cost in Austin. The company, though, has said in the past that prices will be similar to those it offers in Kansas City, where people can choose from an Internet and TV package for $120 a month, an Internet-only service for $70 a month or a slower Internet service that’s free for seven years after a $300 installation fee. The company did say that there will be an option for basic Internet speeds with an upfront $300 construction fee in Austin.
Posted: 2014-10-16 @ 2:57pm PT
Another study in KC showed 27% low income subscribed to Google. It was areas with more immigrants than the WSJ study.