Google Fiber Rumor Check: Is Austin, Texas on the Map?
While nearly every place in America would love Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) to deliver its high-speed Internet service within city limits, it appears Austin is the next stop for Google Fiber. Local businesses and Austin news outlets have received invitations to an event hosted jointly by the Texas capital and the tech giant on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Engadget blog reports that a reader saw Austin listed — briefly, before being taken down — on the “City” page of the Google Fiber site.
If everything works out as hinted, Austin will become the second U.S. city to receive Google’s innovative high-speed Internet service. Kansas City became the first in 2011, though much of the city remains without Google Fiber. Austin tried its best to win a shot at the gigabit service in 2010, but a grassroots campaign fell short to KC. Many thought the reason had to do with local ordinances, but apparently those limitations have disappeared.
Google Fiber can have a huge impact on the local Internet scene, as it delivers speeds close to 100 times that of standard broadband providers. The only way companies like Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T (NYSE:T) can respond is by increasing speeds dramatically or lowering prices. Google Fiber quickly dominated every market in Kansas City where the service is available…Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) confirmed that Google’s service was by far the best of any Internet provider, and the combination of speed and inexpensive prices will be impossible to beat. In Kansas City, Google offered a free option and a $70-per-month option. Free connections required a setup fee of $300, which is waived when a customer chooses the paid plan. Free service delivers download speeds of 5 Mbps, while the full Google Fiber service is several hundred times faster.
To make a great product more unbeatable, Google does not enforce data limits. The only concern for Austin residents is how long it will take for the different “Fiberhoods” to be established. Google may poll different areas of Austin to find out where the highest concentration of potential users exists. Affordable Internet service of this level would be a major boost for local businesses and quickly drive down the prices of the competition. Google’s potential in Internet service appears to have no match.