Wouldn’t you love if the progress bar, or loading icon, just went poof! Well, I have good news you! Google Fiber is coming to Austin in Summer 2014. I had the opportunity to meet with Mark Strama, the head of Google Fiber in Austin, last Friday. Before you even have time to scratch your chin, I have written this here blog to tell you what it means for you.
>>Leaps & Bounds
In order to portray the immensity of 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps), I would like to bring you back in time to dial-up. For those of you who remember, there was a time when when you could only download 0.056 Mbps1! What came next revolutionized the way the Internet is used today. Broadband. This type of connection typically gives users 7.4 Mbps2 in the United States. Because of these speeds, streaming sites like that of YouTube and Netflix were brought into existence.
It is with this in mind that the extent of what Google Fiber’s speeds will allow remain incomprehensible. Google Fiber will offer much greater bandwidth allowing it to carry more data by using, you guessed it, fiber optics. Fiber optic cables contain bundles of threads of glass (or plastic) altered into light waves to transmit data3.
Austin will be the third city to have Google Fiber competing in its cable industry, which is oddly instigated the existing providers to offer fiber optic speeds as well. In order to offer the service, all suppliers will need to replace traditional lines with fiber optic cables. Google fiber plans to lay the cables directly to a neighborhoods cabinet, dividing areas of Austin into “fiberhoods”. Kansas City, Kansas is shown below:
Once the groundwork is done, a launch ‘rally’ will commence inviting customers “to express their interest by registering online and paying a $10 registration fee which would be applied toward their future service installation if their neighborhood is built out”4. The catch here is that there will be defined pre-registration goals for each fiberhood; but not to worry, if your area does not reach the goal all registration fee’s will be refunded. What more is that after you have registered, you are given the addresses remaining to register. It is in this way, Google Fiber is using a build-to-demand mentality and giving the power to the people.
Google Fiber is poised for success not only with its fast WiFi speeds, but also with a competitive price, the reputation of it’s mother company, Google, backing it up, and thus reliability, as well as additional product features. These perks include crystal clear HD, up to 8 programs on DVR, a Nexus 7 for a remote, and a terabyte of cloud storage for all of your favorite Google products. To see more about Google Fiber, check out it out here.
During Kansas City’s debut, three start-ups joined forces to fuel votes to create the first fiberhood to receive Google Fiber in an area now termed “Startup Village”. You can learn more about Kansas City Startup Village here. Like Kansas City, Austin has an entrepreneurial spirit and I cannot imagine what companies, new or existing, will settle down in Austin. But even more am I curious to what applications will be possible with these super fast connections. In what ways do you think Google Fiber will change how we surf the web in the coming years?