Investigations

Some Google Fiber customers still waiting for service a year later

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Construction is complete. Equipment is installed. But a year later, a south Austin neighborhood says they're still waiting on Google Fiber to actually work. 

KXAN Investigates worked to get answers from Google Fiber when neighbors couldn't. 

Three years ago, the city had received hundreds of complaints about yards being torn up during construction.

Then in 2016, Google Fiber turned to a new method called "microtrenching" to minimize disruption and speed up the installation processes. 

Today, some residents say they can't get a straight answer on what's taking so long to access the high-speed internet.

After pressing Google Fiber for a timeline, KXAN learned it could take until the end of the year, and maybe even longer.

If you look closely in Independence Park, you can see the subtle signs that Google Fiber was there. 

"This is the line underground," Julie Sullivan said, walking to point out a box on the side of her home. "That was installed last summer. That is the magic box that will eventually provide us with service, but it's not turned on yet." 

Sullivan and her neighbors say they've struggled to get an answer to a seemingly straightforward question. 

"What is the problem? Why can't you just turn the switch? If it's not turning a switch, what is it? What has to happen?" Sullivan said. 

Susan Speyer says when she was signing up for Google Fiber, she was told she'd have service in, 
"Just a few weeks to max three months."  

And as the months passed, cable and internet bills with other providers, they say, have gone up. 

Neighbor Sherry Lowry adding, "It's doubled since all of this started with Google." 

Speyer said they just don't know what to do. "It's frustrating," she said. "I don't like being in limbo."  

All agreed — they just want the service. 

Google Fiber told KXAN it still needs to connect Independence Park to what it called the "backbone" of its network.

The company explained the same microtrenching technique that allowed them to speed up construction, cannot be used to complete that final connection, which is critical for service. It's still unclear what exactly it's going to take to make that happen. 

"It's not good business practice, in my opinion. I feel lied to," Sullivan said. 

KXAN found out, in the midst of this, Google Fiber has changed the way it does business. Now, customers cannot sign up for the service until construction is complete.

The company apologized and says this will alleviate the delay between sign up and service it knows is frustrating for people. 

To be clear, the delay doesn't just affect this neighborhood. Google Fiber would not provide specifics on what areas are still waiting in the wings, but areas currently under construction could experience delays as well. 

Click here to learn whether Google Fiber is available or coming to your area. 

Right now the only Texas cities that have Google Fiber are Austin and San Antonio. But they are looking into whether or not to add it in Dallas.


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