Google Fiber: ‘We still have a lot of work to do’


AUSTIN (KXAN) — An email going out to potential Google Fiber customers in areas that have already signed up for the service is letting them know installation could still be months away.

“The truth is, we still have a lot of work to do before we can schedule your in-home installation appointment and we don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take,” notes the email to one neighborhood. “Our current plan is to start in-home installations in [the community] in the summer and we think it will take us about 3 months to install most of our customers (in) your fiberhood.”

Google Fiber was the first to announce that it would bring fast, gigabit Internet speeds to Austin. However, after its initial announcement in 2013, AT&T and Grande Communications launched their own gigabit speed services. Time Warner Cable also increased speeds for its customers.

“So far most of our installs are in apartments,” said Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber Austin. “We’ll be rolling out, we sent an email out to our initial sign ups in the Bluebonnet and Lady Bird Lake Fiberhoods just last week announcing the time lines for when they’ll start getting installed.”

Google Fiber has opened and closed signups in two communities in Austin: the Bluebonnet and Lady Bird Lake neighborhoods. Three other communities can sign up now. Strama confirmed the company was sending out emails to communities about the time table for installation.

“That’s our purpose in being very specific about how long people will wait, so that they can make their plans accordingly. We don’t want anybody to be without Internet service,” Strama said. “I’m sure people who got that email and found out they’ll be waiting a few months are disappointed — not as disappointed as the people in my neighborhood in north Austin who have to wait even longer because we haven’t even started letting them sign up.”

“I’m not so concerned about the timeline, to tell you the truth, because I’m just excited that there is going to be an opportunity to have Google Fiber,” said Rick Kent, who lives in the Bluebonnet community.

Kent says he signed up when Google Fiber opened the process in his neighborhood.

“There are some people that are chomping at the bit and a lot of emails are going back and forth about ‘it’s taking too long’ or ‘I wish it was sooner.'”

Still, the reason for the time it takes to connect a home is largely due to the construction it requires, according to Strama. Once someone signs up, Google can’t simply connect a customer.

“We’re actually building the network to you after you sign up. We have a threshold of the number of sign ups that trigger us to build out a given fiberhood,” said Strama. “So far in Austin, nearly every fiberhood that’s had the opportunity to sign up has qualified.”

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