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Summary:

How does Austin feel about getting Google Fiber? I asked several entrepreneurs around town to find out what they thought. Here’s what they said.

Austin Google Fiber launch stage
photo: Stacey Higginbotham

Earlier this week Austin learned that it would get a gigabit network provided by Google with the first customer getting online around the middle of 2014. One of the best parts for the startup community is that Google will also have a small business option, meaning that entrepreneurs will have a chance to get their hands on a gig as well. Judging by an informal survey of locals, most can’t wait.

I asked several people in town for their reaction and thoughts on the news, and I’ve collected the responses here. Here’s what Austin businesses are saying about Google Fiber:

Luis Esteban Caffesse, co-founder of the video production shop Pitch Productions, can’t wait to watch Netflix while uploading client videos after hours:

I can tell you this — the single biggest bottleneck in my work everyday is my internet speed. It’s not my productivity, it’s not my computer’s render times. It is simply the amount of time it takes me to get video content to my clients. Having something with the kind of speed that Google Fiber offers can make the difference between hitting a deadline or not… or between getting a client a copy of their video today or tomorrow.

Internet service is the ONE service in my life that I am more than willing to pay for… but there simply isn’t anything fast enough, even if there were someone willing to take our money.

Brazos Hall in Austin where Google made its announcement.

Brazos Hall in Austin where Google made its announcement.

Joshua Baer, the executive director of the Capital Factory incubator and Chief Innovation Officer at Return Path, is looking forward to the day he can stop waiting on the network to catch up to today’s hardware and software:

To geeks and creatives, having a fast internet connection is right up there with a big monitor and a nice chair. It’s one of the most important factors in job satisfaction and productivity for knowledge workers. At Capital Factory we have one of the fastest Internet connections around. It’s half as fast as Google Fiber and costs $4,000/month compared to $70/month for Google Fiber.

There are three direct benefits Austin will see from Google Fiber. One, Google Fiber will attract more talented workers and innovative entrepreneurs. Two, companies will choose to launch innovative new products in Austin where the market is most receptive and consumers have the infrastructure needed. This means more marketing dollars spent in Austin, more press and attention, and early access to technology for our residents. And finally, the next generation of technology that takes advantage of this new infrastructure will be conceived and developed in Austin.

Austin streets during SXSW 2013.

Austin streets during SXSW 2013.

Kyle Fox, the director of the Austin Technology Incubator‘s IT and Wireless Portfolios, thought more about the bigger picture of a gigabit:

Google Fiber replaces MoPac as Austinites’ quickest route to work. We could no longer have a work commute, nor would we have to wait at the doctor’s office. This will dramatically change how we as humans interact with each other and with the core infrastructure we interact with on a daily basis.

Zach Richardson, a co-founder and CTO at the Daily Dot, an online publication based in Austin, thinks it will make his staff more productive and help recruit developers to town:

Almost everything in my life is somehow connected: workout logging with Map My Fitness, scanned physical mail delivery with Outbox, or HD streaming for TV. Right now I can’t watch TV in HD (streaming) and do some of my work at home at the same time. I had already been looking at multiplexing UVerse and TimeWarner to squeeze a little bit more bandwidth at home.

For any tech-focused business, recruiting and finding talent is one of the hardest things to do. I regularly look at ways I can squeeze every little bit of productivity out of the already existing team we have. This means eliminating non-break idle time. Fast computers and good tools are a large part it, but one of the main bottlenecks (and hardest to solve) is internet speed. It will also help with recruiting in Austin. Engineers want to live and work where they can focus on code and solving interesting problems, not waiting on the internet.

I’d say that personally and professionally these people are excited. I am too.

  1. Streaming video takes up an amazing amount of bandwidth. Netflix and Youtube are hungry guys. Our data center in Colorado Springs is directly peering with Google and plans on peering with Netflix soon to give our customers improved quality and speed. I know I hate when Netflix just STOPS in order to load… it’s always when the movie is just starting to get good:)

    - April

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    1. Viewing a HD 720p stream typically requires a consistent 2.5 Mbps download capacity and HD 1080p requires 4.5 Mbps download capacity. More bandwidth is better, but a high quality (uninterrupted packet flow) connection is best.

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  2. Anyone who says Mopac is a fast route to work cannot be trusted . . .

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  3. More businesses coming to Austin means more traffic on 35 and Mopac.

    Go away, Google!

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