Google and the City of Austin just sent out a slew of invitations to an event next week, but they declined to provide details on what will be announced.
While city officials are staying quiet, multiple sources tell VentureBeat that the announcement could involve expanding Google’s gigabit broadband Internet service Google Fiber to Austin. Alternately, the city could announce plans for a new Austin-based Google campus, or even some partnership to involve the city with a new Google service. Whatever the announcement, it’s safe to say that it’ll be of interest to a broad section of the local community.
Here’s the invitation itself:
On Tuesday, April 9, at 11 a.m., the City of Austin and Google will make a very important announcement that will have a positive impact on Austinites and the future of the city. We anticipate more than 100 community leaders and elected officials to be in attendance to celebrate this announcement. The event invitation is attached for your convenience. Although we cannot share the details of the announcement with you in advance, we know readers will want to learn more, so we encourage you to join us on Tuesday.
Google Fiber offers download and upload speeds that are 100 times faster than the average consumer broadband Internet connection, and at a much cheaper price. The service launched in the Kansas City area back in July, which instantly prompted competing services from Time Warner Cable to boost their own offerings. Currently, Google Fiber is only being offered in Kansas City, Kan. and nearby Olathe, Kan., as well as Kansas City, Mo., but Google chairman Eric Schmidt has previously stated that this is not a side project for the company — implying that Google Fiber could launch elsewhere in the future.
The presence of Google Fiber within Kansas City has sparked an increase in new tech startups in the area, as VentureBeat’s Sean Ludwig previously pointed out. Austin already has a robust startup culture and is home to several large tech company campuses, including Dell, National Instruments, Intel, Apple (call center), Samsung, and others. That said, Austin is very much a tech-focused city, so the availability of Google Fiber would only add to that.
Photo by Sean Ludwig/VentureBeat