Google Fiber promises boost to economy, quality of life

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE NEWS and photojournalist DEREK RAZOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on April 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 9 at 6:42 PM

AUSTIN -- City and state leaders along with Google representatives made it official Tuesday. The lightning fast Internet service known as Google Fiber will soon be available in Austin.

"Today we're here to announce that Google Fiber is coming to Austin, Texas," said Mayor Lee Leffingwell to a crowd of hundreds.

The super fast 1 gigabit Internet and TV provider offers service 100 times faster than the average broadband and Google reps told the crowd speed matters.

"The capability for a single strand of fiber to carry actually terabits of information is amazing," said Google's Vice President of Access Services Milo Medin.

City leaders say the service promises a boost in the economy, allowing for schools, hospitals and the average Austinite to do things they never thought possible

"We could take people who are out there in the field and bring them to our classroom, start TV channels, the health care provider in one place, the patient in another place," said several city leaders in a video shown at the announcement.

Austin Councilwoman Laura Morrison said the possibilities with Fiber are endless -- maybe virtual town hall meetings, film festivals, and of course, music.

"Making Austin the 'Live Music Capital of the Web,'" Morrison said.

The basic broadband service will be available in schools, hospitals and community centers, but for the average resident to enter the fiber-sphere, their home will have to be located in what's known as a "fiberhood." They're selected based on the percentage of people that sign up in that area.

"Frankly, I'm going to be pushing for my neighborhood to be one of the first fiberhoods," said Mayor Leffingwell.

Mayor Leffingwell said he too will be going door to door in his neighborhood encouraging people to sign up.

"It's the economy, but it's also the quality of life," the mayor said.

According to him, at least 30 percent of your neighborhood needs to subscribe to become a fiberhood.

"We go where we're wanted," Medin explained.

In an already thriving tech community, Google says there's no doubt they're wanted in Austin.

Right now Google is in the design phase for the new fiber lines. Next they will enter the construction phase and in mid-2014, users will have access to the high speed connections.

Tuesday afternoon AT&T also announced their intent to build a 1 gigabit fiber network in Austin.

Click here for more information on Google Fiber.

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