Google Fiber sign-up deadline nearing in Bluebonnet 'fiberhood'

The first Google Fiber signup deadline occurs Jan. 29. So far, only one cluster within the Bluebonnet "neighborhood" is not qualified for service. The first Google Fiber signup deadline occurs Jan. 29. So far, only one cluster within the Bluebonnet "neighborhood" is not qualified for service.[/caption]

Austin residents living in Google Fiber's Bluebonnet "fiberhood" have until Jan. 29 to sign up for service.

Fiberhoods are neighborhood areas eligible to receive Google's high-speedInternet service. Local fiberhood maps are available here.

Enough residents in the Bluebonnet fiberhood, which includes parts of the Barton Hills, Zilker and South Lamar neighborhoods, have signed up to qualify for 1-gigabit-per-second Internet service. Google Fiber is one of three providers citywide to offer such high speeds.

All but one of the Bluebonnet neighborhood clusters has qualified for service. Although most of the area is now guaranteed service, residents within the Bluebonnet fiberhood will not receive service unless they sign up before the Jan. 29 deadline, said Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Google Fiber community impact manager.

"Especially if you live in a single-family home, this deadline is a real deadline," Fatehi-Weeks said.

Only one fiberhood cluster Bluebonnet 13, an area along South Lamar Boulevard consisting mostly of businesses and three apartment complexes remains well below its minimum sign-up threshold, as of Jan. 26.

While individual businesses can commit to receiving Google Fiber service, apartment tenants cannot sign up unless their property managers sign a deal with the Internet service provider, Fatehi-Weeks said. If a complex fails to reach a contract agreement with Google Fiber before the deadline, she said it is unlikely those apartments will receive service in the future.

"We'd urge [apartment complexes] to sign up right away and to work with us most importantly because after Jan. 29, if Bluebonnet 13 as a fiberhood doesn't meet its goal, we then draw the conclusion there isn't currently demand for Google Fiber to continue the construction process there," Fatehi-Weeks said.

The 704, a 378-unit apartment complex located within the Bluebonnet 13 fiberhood cluster, already has access to AT&T GigaPower and Grande Communications, which are the two other 1-gigabit service providers in Austin, said Courtney Gailliard, a leasing agent at the South Lamar Boulevard complex. The 704's management is working on potentially securing Google Fiber service, she said, although nothing is official.

"We've had a few residents asking if we're going to get [Google Fiber], but it hasn't been a big community issue," Gailliard said.

Nearby Woodmoor Apartments at South Lamar and The Hamilton Apartments also do not currently have contracts to receive Google Fiber service or plans to do so by the Jan. 29 deadline, according to representatives from both complexes. Residents at all three apartment complexes have expressed interest through a separate sign-up request form tenants can use, according to Derek Bennett, Google Fiber sales strategy manager,although he could not release how many requests have been submitted.

There is no cost for apartments to commit to receiving Google Fiber service, Fatehi-Weeks said. One nearby apartment complex, Bainbridge Villas, has already been connected to Google Fiber services for nearly a month, she said, and more installations are expected after the deadline.

"After a fiberhood meets its goal, a Google Fiber customer support team reaches out to residents who signed up," Fatehi-Weeks said. "It can be immediately to a few months out and all hinges on construction and engineering of the network going on in that area."
By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.