AUSTIN, TEXAS — Google Fiber will finally launch its gigabit-speed service to residents of Austin, Texas, in December, the company announced at a special press event today.
The company’s gigabit Internet service is about 100 times faster than what the majority of ISPs offer within the US. And with the greater speed brings tons of opportunities for the city to better itself, perhaps in ways we can’t even predict yet, according Google Fiber head Mark Strama.
Google first announced its intentions to launch Fiber into Austin back in April 2013, and residents have been eager to start using the service ever since. But there are several reason why it’s taken so long.
“Launching a fiber network is really three parts: planning, permitting, and construction,” said technical program manager David Anthony at the event. He explained that Fiber service will begin in south and southeast portions of the city, which requires permits to build the infrastructure. In other words, this isn’t something that happens overnight.
Like Google Fiber’s previous operations in Kansas City, Mo., the service will come to a selection of what Google calls “fiberhoods” — select neighborhoods where people will have the opportunity to sign up for the service.
“Not every part of Austin will get Fiber. But every area of Austin will have an opportunity to get it,” Strama said. By this, Google means that everyone can sign up to get the service within their fiberhood, but service will only be installed once a certain threshold of signups are met.
Also like the company’s Fiber rollout in Kansas, signing up for the service requires a one-time $300 equipment fee, which is waved if you sign a multiyear contract for monthly service. But those who just want the basic service can do so for free once that initial set-up cost is paid. Base pricing for the Google Fiber Internet and TV service were not disclosed.
And while Google Fiber might be taking a bit longer than expected to arrive in Austin, the competition that’s developed as a result of Google’s entrance into the city have been pretty impressive. Local providers AT&T and Time Warner Cable launched comparable high-speed service within the city as a result.
Hopefully the same will be true as Google moves into other markets across the country.