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!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Google Fiber is Coming to 34 More Cities, Even Faster Than 1Gbps!

Hot on the heels of news that Google Fiber may increase it's 1Gbps service to 10Gbps within three years;

...comes news that Google has it's eyes set on 9 more cities!

We welcome Portland OR, San Jose CA, Salt Lake City UT, Phoenix AZ, San Antonio TX, Nashville TN, Atlanta GA, Charlotte NC and Raleigh-Durham NC to the party! Hi Folks!

Did I say 9? How about 34!!

Anything that combats the terrifying prospect of the proposed Time Warner / Comcast merger is a good thing, but Google still has a long way to go. The merger will turn two "local monopolies" into a national monopoly. Comcast argues that this is simply equivalent to how it is already! The merger will obviously result in higher prices for broadband and television service, but it will probably be approved since they have a man on the inside. Obama-appointee Chairman Tom Wheeler has been a telecommunications executive for more than 30 years. His approval won't come as a result of good decision making, but rather, industry loyalty.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Austin Chooses 100 Community Locations for Free Gigabit Fiber

KUT Radio brings us the list of free beneficiaries for that sweet, sweet Google Fiber! It numbers exactly 100 sites throughout the Austin Metro area and includes every public library (23), 13 out of 135 AISD schools, and other sites which frankly, aren't so public.

Alas, Dawson Neighborhood's Multi-Purpose Center and health clinic did not end up on the list. It's not clear how these sites were vetted, but it's probably way too late to propose any candidates now. The Austin City Council will vote to make the list official Thursday, Nov 21 (tomorrow).

Below is a Google mash-up map I made showing all of the sites involved. I used a great tool called BatchGeo. Click on the icons to find out who is at a given spot. Folks who like Google Earth can click HERE for a database file to use with it.

View 100 Sites in Austin Getting Free Google Fiber in a full screen map

When I made this map, I was hoping to reveal something of Google's deployment plan. We know that two parts of South Austin, along Congress and Lamar, are getting the fiber cable installed first. However, the map shows no particular pattern to support this. It's pretty random, though the highest concentration is Downtown and Central Austin. 

The closest site to Dawson Neighborhood is St. Edward's University. A University, even a nonprofit one, isn't exactly a public resource. You have to qualify to attend, and then you have to pay. A lot of the other sites seem like rather niche venues too. I'm certainly not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I foresee most of these sites being woefully underutilized.

It would make more sense to make sure every public school was connected, before installing at job centers who already have Internet service, ballet studios, sculpture gardens, theaters, for-profit universities, and the Travis Co. Appraisal District. I assume gigabit fiber will really help the Appraisal District staff cruise around with Google Earth, and that may help the City to recover some revenue, but that's neither innovative nor disruptive (in the sense of people creating new industries).