Thursday, October 16, 2014

Google Fiber Launches! South Side gets Gigabits in December!

Our long national crisis is nearly over... for South Austin at least! Austin's own Stacey Higginbotham attended a meeting held at Google's Austin office to educate the local press. Details divulged were in line with what we have been expecting:

For "free" Google Fiber at 5x5Mbps, the installation fee will still be $300, payable over 12 monthly installments. Those customers will enjoy a decent connection for the next 7, perhaps 12 years without further expense. That's about $3.57/mo for a term of 7 years! The price of Gigabit Fiber was not confirmed, but in other cities it has been $70/mo. Split that with your neighbor if it's too much for your budget to cover alone*. Google Fiber can also come packaged with TV service for around $120, and you can rent as many tuner boxes as you require for $5/mo each. Google is already talking about upgrading their network to offer 10 Gigabit connections in coming years!

Unlike AT&T, Time Warner or Comcast, Google will NOT interfere with your Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Vudu, iTunes or other subscription Internet movie providers. There are also hundreds of sites showing free movies. Say goodbye to "buffering... buffering...."

Google is not providing a phone service bundled with Fiber, even though they have offered a very good one for years now. Google Voice offers free calls throughout the USA and Canada, and one cent a minute in many foreign countries. News of Google Voice shutting down has not come to pass, though it has been phased out of Gmail and into Google Hangouts. It's mainly designed for use with a PC and headset.

For folks who have a perfectly good house phone and prefer a physical handset, Obi will continue to support their line of network gear that bridges Google Voice to your favorite Princess phone. As low as $40 dollars, and the size of a pack of playing cards, it is easy to configure and well worth the price even if Google Voice shuts down a month or two later. Your PC does not even need to be on to use it. We have one and love it.

Google will NOT interfere with your alternate choice of Vonage, MagicJack, RingCentral, Ooma, or other Internet phone (aka "VOIP") providers. Your Obi will work with most of them, too. Rates are so low that you'll want to spit fire at the land-line phone company! For instance, we were looking at one plan that cost $8/mo and included 300 minutes.

The result is that you can have Internet, TV, and phone service for a price other Internet providers cannot beat.

It's important to remember that we need to show our interest in the service for Google to give us priority. They will skip us if there aren't enough customers in our neighborhood (they call them "fiberhoods"!). Please visit the following address in your browser, check your address, then provide your email address to receive updates. My email has never been misused by them for spam or such. In fact, they mailed me a free T-shirt several months ago!

*Sharing your service is certainly against the Terms of Service, but I think Google will look away if there's a chance to get your neighbor hooked on Fiber too. They'll want to get their own house installed. You'll find the incredible speed worth the money even if you end up paying the full bill later. Whether you decide to share over wifi or run a cable to your neighbor next door, you can hire a local tech like myself to consult and plan your installation.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Actual construction spotted nearby!

One of our own neighbors spoke with a construction crew located at South 1st at South Center St, who confirmed that they were installing the delicious Google Fiber! In fact, they said that most of the utility (linework?) work in the area was for Google Fiber. That intersection is a block inside the interior of Galindo Neighborhood, right next to Dawson. So, this blog didn't succeed in getting our fiber first, but we wish our nearby neighbors well. We're getting much closer now.

Thanks to "Anonymous" for the information on newer work permits.

The following is a re-post of my comments in the Dawson Neighborhood forum and mailing list on

In other news today, Time Warner customers may have gotten a postcard recently saying they were getting a "free upgrade". Our 15Mbps service is now 21Mbps... not exactly 3x faster as promised. That's only 40% faster, not 300%. This will bite them on the hiney since now we'll all know exactly how degraded our cables are. Also, we know the cables to our house are capable of 32Mbps since they forgot to cap our modem's download speed when it was first installed. I have run a speed test every evening for about 4 years now.

Even if you ARE getting much faster speeds, don't be satisfied! They're only doing this because Google Fiber is on the verge of being rolled out. And think about the fact that their specious "generosity" only comes at the last possible second.

So here's the breakdown between the two services: TWC @ "up to" 50Mbps: $54/mo + $7/mo to "rent" the modem = roughly $1.22 per Mbps. Upload speed is much slower at 2-4Mbps

Google Fiber @ 1000Mbps (1 Gigabit per second): $80/mo = $.08/Mbps.That's less than 1/15th the price. And Google is doing this while building a whole new network ON THEIR DIME, not the taxpayer's. Oh, and the upload speed is 1000Mbps too. 

If $80/mo is out of your budget, why not split the bill with your next door neighbor? I would be delighted to help you run a cable over to them or set up wifi. Google is also offering a "free" tier of 5Mbps which will be maintained for 7-12 years after installation. You just pay for the installation which can be broken into 12 $25/mo payments in the first year.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Google's Cable-Route Permits

By my reckoning, Google Gigabit Fiber may be running a bit behind now. We were told it would be available "in early 2014", and here it is, 1/4 of the way through the year already. But the good news is that there is measurable progress to show!

A local Reddit member has pulled up all of Google's permits for laying cable in Austin, and plotted them out on Google Maps (where else?). Google says these are just the permits filed so far, and many more will come.

So far, only a block of Cumberland Rd is included within Dawson Neighborhood, and a block of South Congress and 5 1/2 blocks of South First along our perimeter. Permits in nearby Galindo Neighborhood are quite extensive so far. All of the permits mapped out are in Austin's South side, with Dawson at dead-center.

Click this image for the interactive Google Map:

Google Rumor: Wireless with your Fiber? and Engadget are raising the rumor that Google approached Verizon January, 2014 about carrying Google branded mobile phone service over it's network.

Neither company responded to questions, but if such a partnership didn't occur, Google could certainly still find a way. The'll be stringing as many as 34 cities up with Gigabit Fiber, so they could hang radios on the poles or install femtocells in customer's homes instead of sharing cell towers with the major telcos.

If the mind bogglingly low price of Internet service is any measure, Google's mobile phone service could be so cheap they won't bother to meter it! Buy a Google phone, and make unlimited calls for 7 years?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Austin Google Fiber support to be outsourced to teleNetwork

It is with heavy heart that I've noticed teleNetwork advertising on Craig's List for staff "in support of Google Fiber".

This news is not thrilling to me or a number of my friends who have worked there. The experience left us with no new skills, and took a considerable chunk out of our faith in Humanity. At least they didn't go with Harte Hanks or "E-Communication Advantage".

TeleNetwork is an Austin and San-Marcos based outsourcer for call centers. They provide customer service agents for a host of small, still-independent DSL Internet providers and other accounts like executive support for various commercial software suites. TeleNetwork is an on-again, off-again telecommute, or work-from-home employer. They have physical call centers, too. 

They're seeking "Candidates that embrace and can always exhibit Googliness with customers". They'll be paying $10/hr for the Google account. I feel physically sick reading the job description, as these strong work ethic requirements they list are anything but what it was like working for teleNetwork.

Good luck, Google!