Google is preparing to announce this week that Austin will be the next major city to see Google Fiber. Though Google has yet to announce anything officially, local ABC affiliate KVUE
has been told by "sources" that the Austin announcement is a done deal. Seemingly confirming that report, a portion of Google's website late last week briefly and inadvertently scooped Google's own announcement
with a banner reading "Google Fiber's Next Stop: Austin, Texas."
Google Fiber offers users in Kansas City symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber connections for $70 a month, or symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber connections and a full array of television content for $120 a month. Users in targeted neighborhoods also have the option of paying a $300 up front fee to have their home connected, then getting free 5 Mbps service for as long as they'd like.
However delicious such pricing and speeds may be, national deployment continues to remain unlikely. Google Fiber remains sort of a strange public relations experiment and new technology testbed
more than a serious entry into the broadband market. The effort allows Google to collect real-world network data on residential broadband networks (which ISPs fiercely protect), while testing next-generation video advertising technologies.
As an added bonus, Google gets an endless stream of positive national press attention for deploying the kind of low-priced, ultra-fast services that have yet to materialize in the uncompetitive United States broadband market.
However, estimates peg a full national Google deployment at somewhere around $140 billion
, with less than half of the country costing around $70 billion. Those are numbers even Google won't want to eat. It remains most likely that Google Fiber sees deployment in only a handful of cities, making those cities selected all the more fortunate.