Austin wants in on Google fiber network



Posted on February 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 17 at 6:17 PM

The City of Austin wants to be part of a plan by search engine giant Google to build an experimental fiber network that will make it much faster for  users.

Google plans to build a handful of experimental, ultra fast broadband networks around the country. It says it will deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what people have access to currently.

“We plan to provide fiber to the home service of speeds up to 1 gigabit per second for at least 50,000 and potentially 500 thousand people,” said James Kelly, Google project manager.

Google is asking for proposals from cities interested in getting one of its test networks. The company says it is too soon to say how much the networks will cost to build.

Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison believes Austin has a unique community and would be a perfect choice as a test city.

“It really takes us into new realms,” she said. “We really don’t know what’s possible yet, but we have the minds to figure that out here. This will take us into the future.”

 At the City of Austin’s job training facility in East Austin, Public Access Producer Peggy Vasquez  says a faster network would allow her to work more efficiently.

“Just today I couldn't get into my AOL account and had to do it two or three  times -- it wouldn't open up,” she said.

Google hopes it can demonstrate by building a network more than 100 times faster than current networks that it could effect a positive change in broadband technology making the web better and faster for everyone.

 “We're going to operate open access networks meaning we'll share our network with other service providers giving users more choice,” said Kelly.

Morrison plans to bring a resolution to the Austin City Council next week that allows city staff to submit an application to become a test city. Google has asked cities interested in joining the experiment to apply to by March 26.

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