Fiber wars in Austin mean cheaper, better Internet


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist MATT OLSEN

Posted on April 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- Lawyer Justin Estep welcomes Google Fiber to Austin.

“I'm a speed freak, I need the best Internet speed," Estep said. “It's kind of like the switch from dial-up to broadband; it's that big of a jump."

It’s Internet 100 times faster than anything currently available, but as an AT&T U-Verse customer, it’s also Estep’s new bargaining chip.

“I always am considering getting my rates knocked down, competition is good and everything is negotiable,” he said.

Google will offer gigabit service for $70 per month, or standard broadband speeds for a one-time $300 fee.

“I'd like to see more bandwidth at a cheaper price,” said Michael Paczan, who tells KVUE his interest in Google Fiber will depend on what they provide.

“Whether Google offered something that differentiated it from what AT&T has or Time Warner cable which is already there as well, I'm not sure since I haven't seen the specifics of what they're going to be offering people."

Tuesday morning, AT&T also announced plans for a gigabit fiber network in Austin but didn't offer a timeline.

In Kansas City, work is still underway to install Google Fiber in most so-called "fiberhoods" and none are complete yet, so it will likely be years before Austin’s Google Fiber is finished.

Google says it will build the first “fiberhoods” in the areas with the most interest, and Estep believes there will be a lot of interest all over the city.

“I don't think it'll be too much of a push in our area, just because most people derive their living from a co-axial cable, so fiber-optic cable would obviously be better," he said.

Google plans to start connecting homes in Austin by mid-2014.

Right now, they are taking email addresses so you can be the first to know when to sign up for Google Fiber, and make your neighborhood a “fiberhood.”

Click here to sign up for Google Fiber.