What happened?: Travis County approved a license agreement with Google Fiber at a March 7 meeting that will increase affordable internet access to unincorporated areas of the county.

Google Fiber is already available in several neighborhoods in precincts 1 and 2, and is starting to file permits for precincts 3 and 4. The county will receive 1% of the gross revenue generated from the Google Fiber installations.

“Access to fast, reliable, fairly priced open internet is no longer a luxury. It’s very difficult if not impossible to fully participate in our economy, our democracy, our society without access,” said John-Michael Cortez, government and community affairs manager at Google Fiber.

The impact: Cortez said one of the big benefits Google Fiber brings to communities is competition.

“Many residents have internet access, but it may not be the highest quality. It may not be very reliable; it may cost more than, quite frankly, the service that they are getting,” he said. “Once we start building in those communities, the incumbent providers typically start waking up and start to invest in higher speed, better service, lower prices, so everybody wins.”

Increasing affordability: Google Fiber participates in the Federal Affordable Connections Program, which allows qualified residents to receive a stipend. The company will also release a service later this year that would make Google Fiber essentially free for ACP-eligible residents, Cortez said.

“We already have customers—happy customers—and we want more of them in Travis County,” Cortez said.