Google today sent out invites for an April 9 joint event with the City of Austin, prompting speculation that the search giant will expand its Google Fiber 1 gigabit Internet service to the Lone Star State.
According to VentureBeat, the invite said that Google and Austin “will make a very important announcement” on Tuesday that will “have a positive impact on Austinites and the future of the city.”
The invite concluded by saying that Google could not share any other details.
Google did not respond to a request for comment. But while the event could just mean that Google is opening an office in Austin, the expansion of Google Fiber there would be a much more likely scenario (and cause for a press event).
At this point, Google Fiber is only available in Kansas City, and will soon expand to nearby Olathe, Kansas. Google selected Kansas City as its first 1 gigabit Internet city back in 2011 after soliciting bids from cities all over the country.
One of those bids came from Austin, Texas. “If Austin is selected, this program will maximize Austin’s potential as a leader in
the high-tech industry and spur a wave of innovation for new applications and uses of technology. The program will also offer the city an opportunity to address inequalities in the ability to use technology by bridging the gaps in Austin’s broadband network,” the Austin City Council said in 2010.
In Kansas City, Google is offering three service packages. The Web-only 1-gigabit-per-second Internet plan is $70 per month. With gigabit + Google Fiber TV, Google promised hundreds of channels and on-demand shows, as well as 2TB of DVR storage and eight tuners, and a new Nexus 7 tablet to serve as a remote control – all for $120 per month. There’s also the option for free 5 Mbps Internet if you pay the $300 installation fee.
The arrival of 1 gigabit Internet in Kansas City has prompted interest from the tech community, with several entrepreneurs setting up shop there to take advantage of the super-fast Internet. Given that Austin is already considered to be somewhat of a tech hotspot – it hosts the SXSW Interactive conference every year – adding Google Fiber could give its tech community an extra boost.
By Chloe Albanesius, PCMag