The people keep Austin weird. Google is going to keep it wired.
According to multiple reports, Google Fiber is heading to Austin. Google’s news website for fiber briefly showed a message over the weekend “Google Fiber’s Next Stop: Austin, Texas”, but was quickly removed.
If this is true Now that is confirmed, Austin will be the second city (after Kansas City) and the largest to receive the 1-gigabit internet & TV service. In case you aren’t up to speed on what all this means, first let’s look at what it offers.
What is Google Fiber?
Google Fiber is an insanely fast internet/broadband connection with connection speed 100 times faster than today’s broadband. To put it in perspective, will be about 125 megabytes per second. An entire gigabyte of data in about eight seconds. If that doesn’t hit home, this will allow you to download a hi-def movie from iTunes in under a minute. The real kicker here is this service is essentially free. Users can pay a one-time installment fee of $300 (or $25/month for a year). This will get you internet speeds what you are probably currently getting from other ISPs.
If you want the upgraded super speeds (which most of us probably do), you can pay $70/month for the fastest download any public consumer has ever seen. The features listed on their site allow you to use your tablet as your new remote, documents the super fast speeds you’ll get, boasts an updated DVR that allows you to record 8 different channels simultaneously, and 200 HD channels with on demand movies (including Netflix) – all in one place. You know what else is great about Google Fiber? Public institutions, like schools, get these speeds for free.
Austin is a Good Move
First off, the obvious choice of Austin could be explained that the SXSW show is a great place to showcase this new capability Google is trying to push out the door. In true typical Google fashion, if there aren’t companies (or the government) willing to partner with upgrading a system, or in this case an infrastructure, they tackle it on their own. With the merging of creativity & advertising that happens in Austin, it’s fitting that Google wants to get these people on board with their new service. What better way than to wire the entire city with the fastest internet any of them have ever seen.
Austin is also the capital of Texas. There could be more at work here just showing it off to the public. Many years ago, the Interstate Highway System was authorized (1956 to be exact). One could argue that this is the type of projects the government should be involved in. Building an infrastructure for the country to help it grow. The current system is poorly managed & run by inefficient companies. We have bend over for Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, etc. and accept what they are giving us, or get nothing at all. But Google is probably not planning on re-building the entire countries digital “pipes” (although they probably could). I would imagine they want to get the government involved, and if the feds aren’t jumping on board, why not start with state governments? The Texas business economy is flourishing, and if Google can demonstrate the needs & benefits for an upgraded network in the state capital, then they got two big wins just by moving to Austin.
The Power of the Imagination
Another important effect of Google Fiber moving to Austin is the response of companies like AT&T. Their PR department issued a statement the same day stating they were “prepared” to build an infrastructure “capable of” gigabit speeds. They may no mention of actually doing it, or trying to compete with Google’s prices. While AT&T is acknowledging the fact the public may want this type of service & speed, Time Warner wrote a blog post essentially writing Google Fiber off as no big deal.
What they are missing is Google Fiber has been electrifying the power of imagination. The same type of thing happened in America when electricity was brought into common use. When electricity first showed up, people didn’t know what to do with it. The general public thought it was only useful for street lamps, and not useful in the home. When Nikola Tesla & George Westinghouse provided electricity in the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, they demonstrated how it could change lives in America. Want to fire someone’s imagination? Display the world’s first electric kitchen. Suddenly everybody wants one. Or in the 21st century, why not try wiring entire cities with gigabit speeds to your door step with the lowest prices consumers have ever seen (and deserve). Did I mention that a lot of other countries can provide much faster speeds at roughly half the costs we get in America? Yeah, Google Fiber isn’t coming soon enough.
Oh, and don’t think you just have to be at home to get these speeds. They have the Google Fiber Pole. If you are out and about in the city, why not still get the fiber service on your laptop or cell phone? The more this service spreads, the less people will care about what 4G service any cell phone provider has. People won’t be using them. Google, thanks for not quitting on your fiber project, just please come to Dallas next, OK?