Google Fiber Coming to IT Startup Hub Austin

Austin, a hotspot of Web-based startups, appears to be a natural fit for a community interested in super-fast Internet.

Residents of the tech-friendly Texas capital city will soon be able to enjoy Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than what most people in the United States currently experience, thanks to Google Fiber, which KVUE News, citing multiple City of Austin sources, reported will be installed across the city.

Austin has long been rumored to be an early city for Google to expand the service into, and a Google press conference scheduled for April 9 has only added to the speculation. The project, an effort to provide broadband Internet infrastructure using fiber-optic communication, boasts download speeds of up to 1,000M bps and was first implemented in Kansas City, Kan.

Austin, a hotspot of Web-based startups, would be a natural fit for a community interested in super-fast Internet—Dell, Apple, Cisco and many other major tech companies have offices there, and thousands of graduates each year from the engineering and computer science programs at the University of Texas at Austin provide a steady source of employees that help fuel Austin's technology sector.

Pricing for Google Fiber in Kansas City starts at $70 per month for 1G-bit Internet access alone, and up to $120 per month for 1G-bit Internet access as well as Google Fiber TV. The Google TV package also includes a Nexus 7 tablet that can be used as a remote control. One terabyte of cloud storage is included with the Internet-only package, while 2TB of DVR storage is included with the TV/Internet package. Residents will also be eligible for free Internet access at a lower speed under the sign-up program, according to Google.

Google has been unveiling Fiber in sections of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., since the fall of 2012, in the first deployments of a system that the company hopes will go national in the future. In December 2012, Google announced that five more neighborhoods in the Kansas City area would be getting its fiber services as the rollout continues there.

The Kansas City area was chosen more than two years ago by Google as the place to start their Google Fiber efforts after the company publicly asked communities across the nation whether they'd want to be the test site for the project. More than 180 Kansas City neighborhoods preregistered for the fledgling new service in September 2012.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called for at least one Fiber-fast broadband community in all 50 states by 2015. Outgoing Chairman Julius Genachowski has said he believes establishing gigabit communities nationwide would accelerate the creation of a critical mass of markets and innovation hubs with ultra-fast Internet speeds. Today, approximately 42 communities in 14 states are served by ultra-high-speed fiber Internet providers, according to the Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Council.

The FTTH Council Americas announced Google Fiber head Milo Medin and Case Western Reserve University CIO Lev Gonick would be joining other specialists on super-fast Web connectivity in keynoting a May conference aimed at helping communities across the U.S. launch their own next-generation networks.

Conference attendees will also be invited to join Google for a tour and happy hour at the Fiber Space, an interactive space where interested parties can come to experience the power of gigabit connectivity, ask questions about Fiber, and sign up for service.