Google Fiber Internet and TV service coming to Austin

In what is being called the next chapter of the Internet, Google Fiber is coming to Austin.

City and state leaders joined Google officials April 9 to announce that Austin will be the second city to receive the Google Fiber technology. In short, Google Fiber will provide another option for Internet and TV service that Google officials say is significantly faster than what is currently available in Austin. Google officials say they expect the first homes to be connected in mid-2014.

"Google Fiber will change how we live, how we work in ways we don't even know about yet," Mayor Lee Leffingwell said. "But it will all be for the better."

Google Fiber's Gigabit Internet connection will be about 100 times faster than what is available today, Google Fiber Vice President Milo Medin said. For comparison, broadband Internet was about 100 times faster when it started than a dial-up modem, he said.

"Speed matters because it's the foundation for future innovation on the Web," he said.

Austin was one of more than 1,100 communities that applied in 2011 to be the first city to receive the Google Fiber technology. While Kansas City ended up being the first city chosen, Leffingwell said the community's enthusiasm inspired city leaders to remain persistent in getting the service.

Google Fiber General Manager Kevin Lo said the positive response from Austin's community and city leaders were the major reasons the company chose Austin as the second city for the service.

The cost for Google Fiber TV and Internet service has not been finalized, but Lo said he expects the price to be comparable to Kansas City, which is $70 per month for Gigabit Internet and $120 per month for Gigabit Internet and TV service, which includes hundreds of channels and a DVR with the ability to record up to eight shows at once.

Lo said Google will provide free broadband Internet, which will have average Internet speed, for at least seven years for customers who pay a $300 construction fee. Google will also connect select public institutions to Gigabit access for free.

Following the April 9 announcement, Google officials said they are immediately working to start building the infrastructure needed for for the Fiber network. Google will build the network in the neighborhoods, which will also be known as fiberhoods, where enough people sign up to make it feasible, Medin said.

Austinites can sign up for updates and to say they would like Google Fiber in their community at https://fiber.google.com/cities/austin.

"Austin, and Texas as a whole, has a legacy of inspiring other cities and states throughout America, and we know that you will use your creativity and this Gigabit network to help write the next chapter in the story of the Internet, not just for Texas, but for the U.S. and the rest of the world," Medin said.