It’s official now: Google Fiber is offering service in parts of Austin with plans ranging from $0 per month (that’s not a typo) to $130 which includes TV services (HDTV, more than 150 channels).
Is this a preview of what the Triangle can expect should Google pick RTP for deployment?
(Update: Google Fiber has formed an LLC in NC.)
A similar product suite already is being offered in Kansas City, so it appears Google Fiber is following a template.
A check with Google by WRAL TechWire produced no update on whether the Triangle will be among site selections, which are expected to be announced before year’s end. But as we reported Monday, a top Google exec will be in Raleigh next week to address a gigabit Internet conference.
Google Fiber’s launch in the Texas capital means head-on competition with AT&T’s GigaPower initiative. And AT&T is back on track for deployment in the Triangle with the Next Generation Network initiative. But what AT&T will offer has yet to be spelled out.
So Google Fiber’s plans and thinking in Austin could very well be a preview of a slugfest here. (Frontier is ahead of the curve with its own fast-paced fiber build-out in Durham.)
A Phased Rollout
Google Fiber is phasing its rollout in Austin, targeting consumers and small businesses in the southern and southeastern parts of the city.
“This is just the beginning. We’ll be opening new areas of the city for signups on an ongoing basis, and we hope to bring Fiber to every neighborhood in Austin that wants it,” writes Mark Strama, the “head” of Google Fiber, Austin.
Registration of interest helps shape Google’s deployment decisions – the more the faster the fiber comes. So Triangle residents need to be prepared to sign up, indicating you want service.
Google is whetting interests with “Early Access” offers.
The $0 for basic service does require the payment of a $300 construction fee, but that is payable in monthly installments.
The $300 construction fee is waived in exchange for a one-year commitment to the top-tier plans.
A “Google Fiber for Small Business” plan starts at $100 a month.
But Strama warns: “[Y]ou’ll have a limited window of time to sign up. We do this so that we can bring you Google Fiber as quickly as possible. We focus our efforts on one neighborhood at a time, doing an all-out installation blitz if your fiberhood meets its signup goal. After we’re finished in your fiberhood, we’ll move on to the next. Be sure to check your sign up deadline so you don’t miss us when we’re in your part of town.”
Fiberhoods are those coverings that house fiber gear. Google has already negotiated fiberhood placement agreements in the Triangle.
To further whet appetites, Google opened a “Fiber Space” in downtown Austin where it will put on demos and host a variety of events.
Full details of Google Fiber’s offerings in Austin are available online.