AUSTIN (KXAN) - Google expects to have its state-of-the-art fiber-optic service available in Austin homes by this time next year.
That was one of the main points raised in Tuesday's blockbuster announcement that Austin is the second U.S. city to be wired for Google Fiber, the broadband service it says is 100 times faster than the competition and an alternative to cable or satellite TV providers.
The much-anticipated announcement came down with Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Gov. Rick Perry joining officials from Google at news a conference from Brazos Hall in downtown. Google fiber is capable of reaching speeds far greater than average cable-modem connections.
"Way to go, Austin," Perry said. "You are changing the world."
"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," Perry added.
Google said in its announcement that it hopes to have homes in Austin connected to the new service by the middle of next year. TV service will include about 200 HD channels.
Shortly after Google's announcement was made, meanwhile, AT&T announced plans to build its own higher-speed network in Austin. The announcement came in a news release and lacked the fanfare afforded Google. Still, the provider of cable and internet service said that it expects to be be on seen as equal to Google.
"AT&T's expanded fiber plans in Austin anticipate it will be granted the same terms and conditions as Google on issues such as geographic scope of offerings, rights of way, permitting, state licenses and any investment incentives," the release said. "This expanded investment is not expected to materially alter AT&T's anticipated 2013 capital expenditures."
Time Warner Cable said their company stands ready for new competitors entering the market.
"We already provide fiber-based multi-gig speed for many commercial customers throughout our service areas, and for consumers, we offer several tiers of residential service designed to fit almost any budget or household need," a statement from the company said. "We're prepared for added competition and believe that any innovation in broadband technology is good for all of us."
The tech blogs have been abuzz with speculation and anticipation since last week when word went out that a major announcement from Google was imminent.
Last summer, Kansas City, Kansas, became the first metro area in the U.S. to receive Google Fiber. There, the initial excitement of the announcement gave way to the "deafening silence" of waiting for the work to start to bring the service to the people.
An online video from Google posted on YouTube showed the recent rollout process in Kansas City's metro areas.
Heather Gold, president of the nonprofit Fiber to the Home Council Americas, said the Austin rollout would be an "exciting validation" of the Google service.
At present, Google Fiber is available only in a few locations -- all in the same general area:
- Kansas City, Kansas
- Kansas City, Mo.
- Kansas City North, Mo.
- Kansas City South, Mo.
Google Fiber offers "gigabit" Internet service — about 100 times faster than a basic cable modem — for $70 a month.
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Options for high speed Internet in Austin continue to expand. Google Fiber is coming to Austin soon, and now AT&T has announced the city will be the first for its own faster-than-ever Internet speeds.