Back in 2011, when Google first announced that it would be launching a super high-speed Internet connectivity service called Fiber in the US, it was a toss-up between thousands of cities across the country for the first rollout of the service. Eventually Kansas City, Kansas came out on top and now enjoys the goodness of Google Fiber, along with a few towns and areas nearby.
However, it now looks like Texas university town Austin, which was also in the running in 2011, is about to get on the bandwagon too. Local news outlet KVUE reports that the city will be getting Google Fiber and the company will be making an official announcement next week.
KVUE spoke to a number of sources within the Austin city hall who reportedly said the service will roll-out there soon enough. Earlier, Google and Austin's representatives had sent out invitations to an announcement of something that would have a “positive impact on Austinites and the future of the city.” Immediately, word of a potential Fiber rollout caught on like wildfire and several other news outlets, including Venture Beat, also started reporting based on word from sources, which confirmed the reason for the invitation.
The rabbit is coming to Austin soon
However, none of the reports reveal anything other than the fact an announcement is imminent. But Austinites can get a fair idea of what it would mean to have Google Fiber in their city, by seeing what it has done to Kansas City and the places around it. Residents in the cities – Kansas City in Missouri, across the state line from Kansas also enjoys Fiber – that already have the service get a gigabit plan for $70 (approx Rs 4,000) per month. The other option is to get a regular broadband free for seven years after paying $300 (about Rs 16,000) as an installation fee.
There are a number of tech companies in and around the city of Austin, the capital of Texas. Apple has a campus in the city, which is said to grow in the coming years. Dell has been present for a number of years while Apple's chief smartphone rival Samsung has a chip fabrication plant in the city. Then there are the likes of Texas Instruments, Intel, AMD and IBM who have a strong base in the city.
Besides these behemoths, a number of startups (thanks to the high-profile University of Texas, Austin) and small technology businesses operate in the city. Google also has a presence in the city in a high-rise close to the UT campus, but away from the city's busy hub. Reports suggest that the company will look for new offices somewhere close to the city centre, just like it did in Kansas City.
Google's Fiber HQ in Kansas City is called Fiber Space, where visitors can try out surfing at gigabit speeds or watch crystal-clear high-definition TV, and understand the technology behind the venture from Fiber team present on site.
In March, the search giant said it would be bringing Fiber to Olathe, located 40 km away from Kansas City. And now with an Austin announcement imminent, we can expect Google Fiber to gradually but surely roll-out to other cities that can support the model.
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