Austin’s Mayor Lee Leffingwell made the announcement.
“There is one particular resource we need that we’ve heard loud and clear that can help make our city more innovative and make it stronger,” he said.
“We’re here because speed matters,” Milo Medin, VP of Google Fiber, said at the event today, pinpointing that it’s not often the matter of speed of the software and services that companies like Google develop, but infrastructure that is to blame when things are slow. “It’s the foundation for future innovation on the web.” Medin also puts some of his thoughts down in an official Google Fiber blog post.
The goal is to start connecting homes in Austin by mid-2014. Customers there will have a similar choice of products as the customers in Kansas City: Gigabit Internet or Gigabit Internet plus our Google Fiber TV service with nearly 200 HD TV channels. Google is still working out pricing details which are expected to be roughly similar to Kansas City.
Also, as in Kansas City, Google going to offer customers a free Internet connection at 5 mbps for 7 years, provided they pay a one-time construction fee.
A report published by analysts at the investment bank Bernstein yesterday noted that it would cost Google $11 billion if it decided to go for a medium-sized national rollout, covering 20 million people. That’s just for laying down infrastructure; the costs would go up by much more when marketing and then linking up homes and businesses to that network get factored in.
The Internet is still young and just starting to grow. Gigabit Internet will be something to look out for.