Google Fiber Expands In Kansas City, Heads To Austin Next

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fiber installation

If you suffer from Google Fiber envy, which delivers close to gigabit speeds, there's good news: you don't have to move to Kansas anymore.

It was only last November when Google Fiber launched in Kansas City at a cost of about $100 million to the envy of many Americans suffering with slow connections (the US ranks 16th in the world in broadband speeds). Just after announcing that the service will roll out to more homes in the metropolitan area at a cost of $84 million for infrastructure, the company has announced that it will be expanding its network next year to the "City Of The Violet Crown", otherwise known as Austin, Texas.

But for those anxious to get the service, it's going to be a long wait. Analysts estimate that for Google to upgrade the 20 million homes in the US with its network, the cost would be around $11 billion, and that's just to be considered to be a viable medium-sized competitor to the big telecoms. Looks like the company will continue to hand pick cities that are willing to cooperate with bringing the service in.

Speaking of which, the telecoms aren't taking Google's expansion into the cities in the middle of the country lying down. After complaining that Google received an unfair advantage by Kansas City to install Fiber there, Time Warner Cable reportedly gave some customers in the area better speeds for less money even as the company released a statement trying to convince everyone that customers aren't really demanding gigabit Internet.

And now AT&T has announced it will build its own fiber-based 1Gpbs network in Austin to directly compete with Google.

The problem for telecoms is that a slew of Google Fiber customers have posted screenshots around the web showing off their lightning fast Internet speeds to the envy of us all. Furthermore, Netflix recently released ISP rankings for fastest streaming speeds and Google snatched the top spot by a significant margin. All of this attention means that the demand for fiberoptic networks is increasing and fast.

Google Fiber speedtest

Although Google's reputation among the tech crowd is far better that the traditional telecoms, the current state of broadband in the US means that consumers will benefit from fiberoptic service, regardless of who actually delivers it. It's easy to love to hate telecoms for throttling broadband and being slow to upgrade networks, even as Google uses this to its advantage. But Americans will benefit from any upgrade to the Internet infrastructure at this point.

Many continue to study and speculate about Google's every move with the service rollout, in an effort to gauge just how disruptive the company can be in a well-established club. For consumers who have eagerly bought numerous mobile devices, swiped their credit cards for the biggest flatscreen TVs that can fit in their homes, and signed up for digital distribution of music, TV, and movies, gigabit speeds are now the stuff dreams are made of.

[image: woodleywonderworks, UCFFool/Flickr]

David J. Hill

Managing Director, Digital Media at Singularity University
I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

Discussion — 4 Responses

  • Jack N Fran Farrell April 10, 2013 on 2:13 pm

    Two way Gbits/sec is a dream come true for a technical telecommuter, or one who leads teams of telecommuters by videoconferencing. My brother ran a technical firm. It had no office, just a dozen programmers who worked from home or from a rented villa when in the field. Overhead was nonexistent; his bid rate was hyper competitive.

  • Beaupedia April 10, 2013 on 6:29 pm

    What speed test site is that screenshot from?

    • David J. Hill Beaupedia April 10, 2013 on 8:17 pm

      I believe it is Google’s own for testing connection issues on Fiber.

  • Charles Barnard April 11, 2013 on 4:49 pm

    Twice, once in the 1980’s and once in the past decade, the US taxpayers have paid billions for the telcos to lay fiber across the country.

    The first batch of fiber was 99% dark (unused) when they asked for the second batch.

    Telcos have also constantly raised their rates despite these government gifts for their infrastructure.

    The Internet is the modern equivalent to the Interstate Highway system, and like that system ought to be a public utility with free (tax supported) access. This single change would level the playing field for the large majority of people who can barely afford the now critical access to modern communications.

    My Internet access & phone eat up 1/7th of my disability income, but are nearly as critical to my life as my other utilities, food, housing and medical care.

    This is not something that is difficult to pay for…the ISP’s and telco’s are all VERY profitable despite their complaints…most of their infrastructure was paid for decades ago. Those profits are currently taxed at a very low rate. Countries with uniform, government owned systems routinely offer better and less expensive service for both Internet and telephone service…largely because they don’t have multiple venders constantly trying to lock in their customers by crippling the service and equipment, and settled early on a single cell technology avoiding the American experience of decades of incompatible cell service.

    While I’m certain that our system could do much better, the fact is, competition in this sort of interconnection system hinders rather than fostering rapid development and deployment…resulting not in the American Capitalist Ideal of better products and service, but rather worse products and service at higher costs.