Austin, Texas has long been a tech geek, business professional and maker paradise. Everyone seems to be represented here- from the international powerhouses like Apple, IBM, Google and locally born and raised Dell, to all the amazing and interesting homegrown startups dotting the landscape. There are more tech/data driven companies like Umbel, which is a new customer data platform. FitToTweet is revolutionizing the way corporate meetings are covered on social media. Austin based Circuit Scribe brings a smile to the maker geek, creating high quality pens with conductive ink and interactive modules. Truly, the area is rich in diversity and ingenuity. As Austin has grown this past decade, with more opportunities for adventure, more culinary offerings, more and more public events, the two biggest complaints have been 1. Central Texas allergies 2. How terrible traffic is and how it’s only getting worse and 3. How finding an Internet provider that was reasonable, consistent and fast has been a joke. Plagued by Internet outages, low quality connections, and poor customer service, Austinites have long dreamed of the day that competition would drive quality up and the price down. Thanks to the 2013 Google Fiber announcement to start breaking ground here in Austin, sometime soon we’ll only have allergies and the traffic to complain about.
Following the announcement, there was much rejoicing. To the tune of $70 per month, Gigabit speed would soon be available to Austin homes. For around $130 per month, you could bundle this speedy Internet with television- over 150 channels. People immediately signed up to be considered for the first Fiberhoods and after working through plans and the permitting processes, Google Fiber is now being offered in several south central neighborhoods, slowly expanding its reach every day. To learn more about when you might expect to see Google Fiber offered in your area, check out this Fiberhood Map. You may even get a pleasant surprise.
Once the competitors knew they had a city full of unsatisfied customers hungry for Fiber, they stepped up their game. Kevin Schwaller reported that AT&T and Grande Communications are both now offering Gigabit speeds, while Google is still laying their fiber optic network throughout the city. In order to stay in the game, Time Warner has given their customers a bump in speed. Most Austin TX. residents may be waiting a while yet to connect into their Fiberhood, but we are already seeing the benefits of a more competitive market in Travis County.