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Google delays Austin fiber launch plans and offers a look at future service areas

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Well this is disappointing. Google is telling a local Austin news station that it plans to open signups for Google’s fiber-to-the-home service this summer, putting off the launch of the service until “later this year.” KXAN, an NBC affiliate, also looked at some of the permits that Google has filed to see where it might be planning to lay fiber first.

Google must apply for right of way in areas where it wants to dig and string fiber. So far, the map included with the story shows the current permits filed for areas south of the Colorado River (which is confusingly called Lady Bird Johnson Lake). Delays aren’t unusual for Google’s gigabit network deployment, but it is nice to have a new deadline. When Google said last April it was bringing fiber to Austin it had planned to connect the customers by mid-2014 and open up the signups sometime around the first of the year. It doesn’t seem like the date has slipped too far, and I was wondering what the holdup was.

Meanwhile for folks eager to get a gig today, Grande Communications is offering gigabit access for $65 to select neighborhoods where it has existing network infrastructure while AT&T is offering a 300 Mbps service that it plans to upgrade to a gigabit network later this year in two service plans (the cheaper one lets AT&T serve ads based on where you have surfed). The other incumbent ISP in town, Time Warner Cable has promised to boost speeds to 300 Mbps in Austin this summer as well.

Google isn’t even offering service in town yet, and already parts of Austin are getting better broadband. That’s cool.

15 Responses to “Google delays Austin fiber launch plans and offers a look at future service areas”

  1. John Crane

    It’s called Lady Bird Lake, because the Colorado River is dammed in several spots, forming a lake. I checked the map you referenced, and both names are given. You’re the one who is confused. Also, if you know anything about Austin, you would realize that South Austin is always treated as the ugly step-sister. We get NOTHING down here. In fact, most maps stop at Ben White Blvd., aka Texas 71, AKA, US 290. Even though my neighborhood isn’t getting it anytime soon, I am glad this part of the city is getting some recognition, for a change.

    You ought to read up on why they changed the name of what was once Town Lake to Lady Bird Lake. She spearheaded the effort, many years ago to beautify the area and create a park way all along the lake. It is like the Central Park of Austin.

  2. P-Lord M-Four Carbine Swiz

    I seriously thinking of buying a house in austin just to get google fiber. i hate time warner that much and i am aching to drop directv now that the att buyout is final.

  3. John Stalsby

    I guess it would be confusing if you don’t understand that most lakes in the United States are reservoirs. What natural features do we build reservoirs on?

  4. Notice that the incumbent broadband providers eagerly step up their speeds as Google Fiber gets introduced.

    Given the free geographic monopolies and allowed spectrum for TWC and AT&T, not sure why we’re not pressuring the (captured) FCC to mandate $35/month for 100 Mbps service…or whatever price-point allows a fair return.

    Current billion-dollar profit margins for AT&T and TWC are outrageously high, given the crap customer service and crap speeds they offer.

    Wasn’t it cool that they got the geographic monopoly and the ample spectrum way back and never followed through on their contractual obligations…?

  5. Jim Davis

    Google is really planning on building new infrastructure, whereas AT&T appears to be intent on a FTTPR (fiber to the press release) campaign to try to create the illusion that their antiquated fiber to the neighborhood XDSL technology is not utterly useless compared to a true fiber to the home gigabit network. Unfortunately, building a new FTTH GPON network is very complex. costly, and time consuming, so patience will be required by all eager customers.

    • Spanky

      I can certainly confirm your comments Jim. I have AT&T GigaPower in Round Rock and it is neither Giga nor Power. I am lucky to get 80 Mbps while paying for 300 Mbps. I can’t wait for this supposed 1 Gbps (which is certainly going to be delayed now that Google is delaying) when at&t won’t change a thing (except their marketing).

  6. Ms. Higginbotham, just a history lesson. Due to decades of severe floods because of the swelling of the Colorado River, the State finally garnered enough funds to help the situation by building a series of stronger dams and locks that would aid in the prevention of flooding in several low-lying areas of cities on the river as well as provide hydroelectric power to the areas as well. Because of the dams, we now have man- made lakes, or reservoirs, behind them as is the usual occurrence when rivers are damned up. Town Lake, as it was formerly known, was re-dedicated Lady Bird Lake after former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, passed away in 2007. Hopefully this clears up your confusion.

    • I wasn’t confused, but people who don’t live in Austin might be. I’ve lived here when it was Town Lake and still tend to call it that, but most of my out of town guests always ask why we call a river a lake. I explain about LBJ and the dams and they just shake their heads.

      • Mark H

        So Lake Mead on the Colorado River created by the Hoover Dam is not confusing but Lady Bird Lake on the (different) Colorado River created by the Longhorn Dam IS confusing? Well now I’m confused.

  7. Jack C

    Isn’t this both an exemplar of how genuine competition is supposed to work and a stark contrast to the way things actually work in the wired broadband market? It’s so bad that even what amounts to somewhat of a PR stunt by Google (with some backbone) is making a tangible difference in a couple of broadband markets. Is it going to take a nationwide fiber roll-out by Google to really shake things up?