Google on Tuesday officially announced that its Fiber service is coming to Austin, Texas. After Kansas City, Austin will become the second city to take part in the company’s project of bringing gigabit Internet connections to the masses. The company says it plans to start connecting homes in Austin “by mid-2014.”
“People are asking for this particular resource that will make our economy stronger: Google Fiber is coming to Austin, Texas,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwel announced. The revelation was followed by huge cheers from the crowd.
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Google has followed up with its side of the announcement. The company has a YouTube video ready to go:
Google says Austin customers will have a similar choice of products as its customers in Kansas City: Gigabit Internet or Gigabit Internet plus Google Fiber TV service (nearly 200 HD TV channels). Unfortunately, pricing details have still not been finalized, but Google says it expects them to be “roughly similar to Kansas City.”
The company did reveal, however, that Austin residents will be able to get a free Internet connection at 5Mbps for seven years assuming they pay a one-time construction fee (just like in Kansas City). Google is promising to connect “many public institutions” including schools, hospitals, community centers, and so on at no charge.
In its post, Google called Austin a “mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism” with “thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital.” Google says it expects the Texans in Austin to do “amazing things with gigabit access” and that it feels “very privileged to have been welcomed to their community.”
This was easily Google’s worst-kept secret so far this year. There were multiple leaks not only of the announcement but of its timing as well.
On Friday, Venturebeat cited multiple sources in a report claiming that Google and the City of Austin would be announcing the launch of the gigabit Internet service in the Texan city on Tuesday. On Saturday, Google published and then quickly removed a blank post on the Fiber blog titled “Google Fiber’s next stop: Austin, Texas,” with its author listed as “SoAndSo” from the “SoAndSo Team.” On Monday, Gig.U, a coalition of universities promoting the expansion of next-generation broadband technologies, released a press release describing the Fiber expansion; Engadget managed to grab it before it was pulled.
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