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Google Fiber: why Austinites are only marginally excited

Austin has been announced as Google Fiber’s second city ever, so what is wrong with Austinites? Why aren’t they drooling over this?

google fiber austin

google fiber austin

Google Fiber coming to Austin

In 2011, Kansas City signed a development agreement with Google to bring Google fiber to its residents, becoming the pilot for the long term project to bring 1Gb per second to users of the to-be-built fiber-optic network. Now having rolled out to residents, Google has announced a partnership with the City of Austin to be the next Google Fiber city.

While there is a free internet option upon rollout, Google Fiber pricing is comparable to traditional competitors, but they say they offer 100 times more speed. Kansas City users have access to free internet, Gigabit internet for $70 per month, and Gigabit + TV for $120 per month. Google Fiber TV allows homes to watch all shows in HD, store 500 videos of HD to the cloud, watch Netflix videos, search content on the web with their voice, record up to eight shows at once, and even control multiple televisions through Google’s Nexus 7 device. The setup fee is $300 to invest in the infrastructure, which is waived for longer contracts, and they allow it to be billed out monthly if that’s easier.

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So why aren’t Austinites enthusiastic?

Many Austinites we spoke with did not seem enthusiastic about the potential tech innovations coming to the city, but not because they weren’t first, but because of the process Google uses at roll out. Like Kansas City, Google Fiber in Austin will be a competition between neighborhoods (they call them “fiberhoods”), wherein neighborhoods have to compete to get service first.

Kansas City broke areas up into around 800 people, and the first areas to have the most people sign up as interested on the web will get the service first. Austin is hipster like that – too cool to compete in a mainstream competition. The dirty secret is that Austinites will compete – everyone will go submit their email and zip code.

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The other reason Austinites were less than enthusiastic is not because of the product, but because they’ve already submitted their information – they did it years ago, and this demand is why Google is coming to Austin.

Google said in a statement, “Austin is known globally as a mecca for creative and entrepreneurial people, including musicians, artists, tech companies, and the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital to name a few. High-speed ubiquitous connectivity can make an immediate impact on the work of all of these groups.”

They also noted, “When we were originally choosing where to bring Fiber in 2010, Austin had one of the most enthusiastic responses. Austin city leaders have worked hard to make this possible, and we’re excited to be here.”

What will get Austinites excited?

From the outside, the city appears ungrateful that the tech dieties would bestow this amazing gift upon them, but that is not the case. Many told us that they are simply reserving their enthusiasm for when the “on” switch is flipped and they can actually test out Google Fiber. For now, public buildings like libraries, schools, and hospitals will get Google Fiber for free, then the public, so it appears to be 2014 before homes have access.

In 2014, when peoples’ homes start lighting up with Google Fiber, you’ll hear the enthusiasm. Social networks will light up and the world will be excited, even those that pay for the service, but for now, it’s a waiting game, and Austin isn’t famous for being patient.

google fiber austin

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The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.



  1. kt musselman

    April 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Well, I live in Austin and this story, besides containing no quoted sources, is weak sauce.

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