In our continuing coverage of Google Fiber, this post will center on the growing reach of Google Fiber and the work of American cities to beat Google Fiber to the connectivity chase. To read our first blog post on the subject, follow this link, “On the Growing Importance of Google Fiber”.
If you live in and around the Austin, Texas area, Google Fiber has a wonderful surprise for you. Recently voted on and announced by the Austin, Texas city council, Google Fiber will roll out its 1 gig connectivity service to 100 locations in and around Austin for free. The move will empower Austin, Texas non-profits and community organizations with the “100 times faster Internet”. The journey for Google Fiber to reach Austin, Texas has been a long one fraught with setbacks, lawsuits, complaints and legal filings designed to slow and shut down the 1000mbps solution. As noted by Angie Beavin of KXAN in Austin, Texas, “The ultra high-speed Internet service is expected to be up and running in parts of Austin by mid-2014…the chosen 100 get free fiber for 10 years.” The impact of Google Fiber is being felt by local institutions and business owners within Austin, Texas:
Rebecca Campbell is the executive director of the Austin Film Society. She’s thrilled to hear Google Fiber is coming to them at no cost.
“This is a game changer, yes. This will up our game,” said Campbell. “Google Fiber will be faster, quicker, better, stronger for the film makers.” She says Google Fiber will create an advantage for the dozens who work out of the studio.
“We’re all kind of competing in a global economy now, and so anything that makes it possible to be more creative and faster is going to give our tenants and Austin an edge,” Campbell said.”
This stated, the more interesting development with Google Fiber is the impact the service is having on city councils around the country.
Los Angeles takes on Google Fiber
With the first Google Fiber installations taking place in Provo, Utah, Los Angeles has taken the steps to become the first major American city to require broadband connectivity for all and 1 Gig Internet speeds to those willing to pay. Announced on November 5, in December the Los Angeles city council will issue request for proposals (RFP), “that would require fiber to be run to every residence, every business, and every government entity within the city limits of Los Angeles.” The statement, taken from L.A. Information Technology Agency GM Steve Reneker, went onto say the city council voted unanimously to move forward with the RFP and that the city expects the project to cost between $3 and $5 billion, charged to the vendor. That’s right, Los Angeles will be providing free 2Mbps to 5Mbps to residents and business and 1 Gig connectivity for those willing to pay yet they won’t be paying a dime of the bill. As noted by ARS Technicia:
“The city is going into it and writing the agreement, basically saying, ‘we have no additional funding for this effort.’ We’re requiring the vendors that respond to pay for the city resources needed to expedite any permitting and inspection associated with laying their fiber,” Reneker said. “If they’re not willing to do that, our City Council may consider a general fund transfer to reimburse those departments, but we’re going in with the assumption that the vendor is going to absorb those up-front costs to make sure they can do their build out in a timely fashion.”
“The winning bidder would not be required to offer land line phone service or television, but it’s likely that they would. “I would think that’s how they’ll justify the build out, is being able to offer triple play [packages],” Reneker said.”
Interestingly enough, although Los Angeles will be relying on vendors to accomplish the task, Google Fiber will not be the number one choice of the city council. As Google Fiber only currently deals with residential connectivity and Los Angeles has plans for both homes and businesses, the city is looking to extend the offer to any provider willing to bite.
The importance of the Los Angeles RFP’s can’t be overstated. Instead of waiting for Google Fiber or another ISP to come in and offer higher connectivity and wi-fi, the city has not only recognized the need for free and higher connectivity but it has also taken the steps to fulfill that need. One can only hope that other cities around the country, spurred on by Google Fiber, begin to take the same action.