Google has officially announced that the tech-friendly, progressive city of Austin, Texas, is the second U.S. city that will get the company's superfast Gigabit Internet service starting in 2014.
Last week, Google and the city of Austin sent out notices about a joint announcement that would come on April 9, leading to reports and speculation that the city would get Fiber service. At the time, though, Google declined to comment on the reports. Now, the company has unveiled its plans in an April 9 post on the Google Fiber blog.
"Today, we're pleased to announce with Mayor Lee Leffingwell that Austin, Texas, is becoming a Google Fiber city," wrote Milo Medin, vice president of Google Fiber, in his post. "It's a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital. We're sure these folks will do amazing things with gigabit access, and we feel very privileged to have been welcomed to their community."
Google's first Fiber deployment in the United States has been going on in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., where the company has been unveiling Google Fiber since the fall of 2012 in the first deployments of a system that the company hopes will go national in the future. Last December, Google announced that five more neighborhoods in Kansas City would be getting its fiber services. Installation of the fiber network in the Kansas City area began in February 2012, when the laying of fiber cable got under way.
The timeline in Austin calls for Google to start connecting homes there by mid-2014, according to Medin's post. "Customers there will have a similar choice of products as our customers in Kansas City: Gigabit Internet or Gigabit Internet plus our Google Fiber TV service with nearly 200 HD TV channels," he wrote. "We're still working out pricing details, but we expect them to be roughly similar to Kansas City. Also, as in Kansas City, we're going to offer customers a free Internet connection at 5 [megabits per second] for 7 years, provided they pay a one-time construction fee."
Google also plans to connect many public institutions to the system as it is built in Austin, including schools, hospitals, community centers and more at no charge, he wrote.
"Communities that are connected to the Internet grow stronger because there's greater potential to create jobs, drive economic growth and help businesses succeed," wrote Medin. "We believe the Internet's next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, and we hope this new Google Fiber city will inspire communities across America to think about what ultra-fast connectivity could mean for them."
Leffingwell, Austin's mayor, said in a statement that his city has been interested in getting Fiber service since Google began accepting applicants back in 2011. "Three years ago, the city of Austin expressed a desire to have Google's revolutionary fiber-optic communication infrastructure in Austin," he said. "We are a city of early adopters and entrepreneurs, and as such, offer the perfect environment for Google Fiber."