Google has officially announced the next city that will get its super-fast Fiber internet: Austin, Texas. "We are very glad that Google has been convinced to bring Fiber to Austin," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell in today's announcement. "Google Fiber will change how we live and how we work in ways we don't even know about yet." Austin will become the second US city, following Kansas City, to receive Google's groundbreaking internet service. The service will provide Austin residents with "gigabit" internet, which means download and upload speeds of 1,000 Mbps — something Google has said is "100 times faster" than competing broadband services. "It's a resource that can help make our city even more innovative, and make our economy even stronger," Leffingwell said.
In a blog post announcing the expansion, Google says that it aims to "start connecting homes" by mid-2014, and that Austin residents will be offered similar service packages to those available in Kansas City: including gigabit internet, Google Fiber TV, and free 5 Mbps service for seven years with a one-time construction fee. Google says it will also provide public institutions like schools and hospitals with gigabit internet for no charge. "The internet is still in its early days and has so much more potential to improve our lives," writes Google Fiber VP Milo 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 ultrafast connectivity could mean for them." Medin said at today's announcement that Google will opt for the same rollout process it used in Kansas City, organizing Austin into a set of smaller neighborhoods ("fiberhoods") that must meet signup goals to receive service.
"We're here because speed matters."
Google's announcement didn't come as a big surprise; the Fiber expansion was rumored in recent days by local media in Austin, along with some Fiber-related leaks on the web. And Austin has already been interested in Fiber since Google originally solicited applications from US cities; "we've been working on [getting] it ever since," said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Later in the announcement, Texas Governor Rick Perry stepped up to the podium to praise the city's accomplishment. "This is a big announcement," he said. "It vastly increases the odds that the next great thing will be born and bred here."
Adi Robertson contributed to this report.