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Here come the Google fiberhoods

Google Fiber deadline makes high-speed approach

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Former state Rep. Mark Strama of Austin is leading the local Google Fiber project. Photo courtesy of Mark Strama/Facebook
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The deadline for Austin nonprofits to apply for free, ultra-high-speed Google Fiber service is looming.

Applications for Google Fiber’s Community Connections program must be submitted to the city by September 30. Google has promised to supply superfast broadband Internet service to as many as 100 nonprofit or public sites in Austin, as well as City Hall and the new central library, at no cost. The service will be free until April 2023.

In a resolution, the Austin City Council said the Community Connections program offers “the potential to serve in the public realm as a laboratory for innovation and digital inclusion, resulting in advancements unique to Austin’s spirit.”

Google Fiber will deliver Internet service with speeds as high as 1 gigabit per second — up to 100 times faster than the typical Austin home can get now. By the end of this year, city officials will come up with a proposed list of locations for the Community Connections program.

The final decision for a site connection ultimately rests with Google Fiber, according to the city.

The City Council has said that the Community Connections program must serve diverse sectors, such as government services, education, social services, health care and “creative endeavors.”

Some of the questions that will be weighed by officials reviewing the Community Connections applications are:

  • Will participation in the program promote “digital inclusion”?
  • Will participation in the program help “underserved” people?
  • Will participation in the program benefit the applicant financially?

Aside from dozens of nonprofit and public sites — including schools, hospitals and community centers — Google Fiber will be available to homes and businesses in select neighborhoods throughout the city. The first Google Fiber hookups for so-called “fiberhoods” in Austin are supposed to happen in mid 2014.

For more information about the Community Connections program, contact the city’s Telecommunications & Regulatory Affairs office at digital.inclusion@austintexas.gov or (512) 974-2999. Applications for the program are available at austintexas.gov/digitalinclusion.

The company unveiled plans to install Google Fiber locally in April. Former state Rep. Mark Strama of Austin is leading the local Google Fiber project.

“With the installment of Google Fiber, the case can be made that Texas is one step closer to becoming the nation’s next technological hub, inviting some of the boldest and most creative visionaries to call Austin their home,” Texas Gov. Rick Perry said at the Google Fiber announcement.

Google Fiber is already available in the Kansas City area and will be installed in Provo, Utah.

Google Fiber already is available in the Kansas City area and will be installed in Provo, Utah.

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