I have to admit, I’m more than a little envious of the Texas state capitol right now. We’ve been salivating over Google’s Fiber 1Gbps service that was implemented for Kansas City. Ever since then we’ve been wondering where next. Well, the rumors from the last week or so are true: Google will be building out a fiber network in Austin, Texas. What’s more, competition is coming from AT&T.
Google Fiber is coming to Austin in the the middle of 2014. Packages will be very similar to what’s available in the Kansas City market. There will be 1Gbps fiber internet access, a television package with up to 200 channels, and for those with basic needs, a 5mbps service for just the hookup fees for 7 years. One would assume that the rollout will also be similar to the Kansas City fiberhoods.
Austin will be a very important test. Kansas City is home to a couple major tech firms like Sprint and Garmin, but for the most part it is an industrial city. Austin is a thriving area for both technology companies and performing artists as well as having a top research center in the University of Texas at Austin. These are people who could put a 1Gbps network to good use and see if it’ll hold up.
One of the expectations of Google Fiber is that it would give incentive for existing providers to step up and compete. For the most part that has not happened in Kansas City. Austin is a much different story. AT&T announced it was also building out a gigabit network in Austin. In fact, it even mentioned Google by name in the press release, as they were granted the same terms from the City of Austin. AT&T, however, did not provide a time table for implementation of their service.
There’s no denying it, Austin is a lucky city. We’ll be watching with open eyes seeing how it goes as the city gets not only one, but two competing gigabit service providers. We’re also hoping more follow suit across the country. They can start with the Livid Lobster Studios in Addison, Texas.