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Austin Is Next Market to Host Google Fiber

Ultra-high-speed Internet, 200-channel TV service rolls out in 2014

Photo: Robb Kendrick via Getty Images

Google on Tuesday confirmed that it has selected Texas’ capital city as the next market for its high-speed Internet service.

Just days after rumors began to circulate that Austin was the likely candidate for the next rollout of Google Fiber, the company made things official this afternoon. Google will begin connecting homes in Austin by mid-2014 although details about pricing and service tiers have yet to be disclosed.

As is the case with the first rollouts in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., the ultra-high-speed Internet service—it’s 100 times faster than the average broadband connection—will also facilitate a 200-HD channel fiber TV package.

At present, Google is offering its 1,000 MB/sec data service and the Google Fiber TV package for $120 per month. The no-buffer Internet plan costs $70 per month. Customers who opt for a one-time construction fee of $300 (the fiber has to be rolled out to the physical residence or business) pay no monthly fee for the Google Fiber Internet Service.

Google said it chose Austin to be its next test bed because the city is “a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism”—moreover, it boasts “thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital.”

It is also delightfully weird.

Austin owns its own electrical utility, which will allow Google to sidestep a lot of interference from third parties. It also has the advantage of relatively flat terrain and above-ground/telephone wire infrastructure, which obviates the need for costly digging.

Once Google Fiber is up and running, the service will go head-to-head with established Internet and cable providers Time Warner Cable and AT&T U-verse, as well as DBS operators DirecTV and DISH Network.

Along with offering Austin residents an alternative to the local cable options, Google Fiber TV will provide fans of the University of Texas with ESPN’s newish RSN, the Longhorn Network. Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and DISH Network do not carry LHN, limiting the RSN’s reach to just 13 percent of the Austin market. AT&T U-verse picked up the network last summer.

Austin originally applied to be the first Google Fiber city in 2010. The city’s “Big Gig” initiative included a series of videos designed to showcase Austin’s unique charms and strategic advantages over other applicants. (One local said that Austin is simply a “Googley” kind of town.)

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