Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) ultra-fast, fiber-optic-based home Internet service is coming to Austin, Texas.
The search and Internet services company confirmed Tuesday that the tech-savvy city will be the second market where it will offer the service. But Google did not reveal how much Austin customers will pay for Google Fiber.
Last summer, Kansas City became the first metro area in the U.S. to receive Google Fiber. Google Fiber offers “gigabit” Internet service – about 100 times faster than a basic cable modem – for $70 a month.
Milo Medin, who heads up Google Fiber, says the company will begin identifying Austin neighborhoods to install the service in 2014.
While Google benefits from consumers spending more time online, the expansion into Web access will compete with cable and telecommunications providers such as AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. that have built vast networks to deliver Internet services to homes across the country. Google has also introduced Wi-Fi in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood and its hometown of Mountain View, California.
“We’re here because speed matters,” Medin said at an event this morning, attended by Texas Governor Rick Perry. “Speed is the foundation of future innovation on the Web.”
Following Google’s announcement, AT&T said it’s preparing to build rival fiber network in Austin capable of delivering speeds similar to Google’s planned service. Time Warner Cable said it welcomes the competition and has a network across central Texas.
AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said in a statement that government “policies which eliminate unnecessary regulation, lower costs and speed infrastructure deployment” would boost more investment in advanced networks.
Austin, with a population of about 820,000, is near the corporate headquarters of Dell Inc., the third-largest personal- computer maker. Bolstering the city’s growing role as a technology hub, Austin hosts the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, an annual event that attracts entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and executives from Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook Inc. HomeAway Inc., an online vacation- rental service, and Bazaarvoice Inc., a brand-awareness software maker, are funded locally by investment firm Austin Ventures.
As it did in Kansas City, Google said it will target areas with high demand for the Fiber service. Google will be seeking feedback in specific neighborhoods to measure interest, the company said on its website.
While pricing hasn’t been set, Google Fiber will be similar to Kansas City, where the search provider charges $70 a month for a high-speed connection and $120 a month for Internet and television service, Medin said. A basic broadband service will be offered for free, after a $300 connection fee, Medin said.
Perry compared Google Fiber’s impact to Texas Instruments Inc.’s development of computer technology and the Johnson Space Center near Houston.
“This is a really big deal,” Perry said. “This vastly increases the odds that the next great thing — the next Google — will be born in the Lone Star State.”
(The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report)