Google Fiber Austin: The Ideal Second Stop (commentary)

Our Austin-based editor, Madison Andrews, is chomping at the bit in Austin at the idea of Google Fiber Austin. There’s a big event Google and the City of Austin are holding on Tuesday — and Madison is holding her breath. — Google and the City of Austin will make a joint announcement on Tuesday, April 9, in the Texas capital. Austin is a perfect second stop for Google Fiber, which debuted in Kansas City last year.  Austin is a tech capital, too, of course. As home to the South by Southwest (SxSW) festival, it’s a tech center in its own right.

GigaOm and VentureBeat were among the first to speculate on Friday that Austin and Google have a Google Fiber announcement ready to go. It press invitation reads:
On Tuesday, April 9, at 11 a.m., the City of Austin and Google will make a very important announcement that will have a positive impact on Austinites and the future of the city. We anticipate more than 100 community leaders and elected officials to be in attendance to celebrate this announcement. The event invitation is attached for your convenience. Although we cannot share the details of this announcement with you in advance, we know readers will want to learn more, so we encourage you to join us on Tuesday.
Google Fiber Liz Lemon Meme
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That being said, neither Google nor the City of Austin will confirm that all our wildest connectivity dreams will soon come true. Maybe we’re just in for a Texas-sized Google office. Or an Austin-ish Metro app that lets you search for the exact location of that bus you’re waiting for in 100 degree plus heat.
I’m one local who thinks that’s actually a good idea.
If and when Google Fiber hits Austin, it will take some time for communities and developers to adjust their infrastructures accordingly. Kansas City, the first municipality to benefit from Google’s high-speed installations, is still ramping up. And until more cities beyond just a few are similarly equipped, gigabit connection won’t provide much benefit to users outside of the city limits. As Stacey Higginbotham correctly noted on Mar. 1, 2012,
… a gigabit is only as good as the back haul coming into it. Which means if I use a gigabit connection and start uploading something to the web at large, only the first mile will be fast. And if an entire town (or a bunch of enterprising developers) finds ways to use the bandwidth on its first mile of access, at some point something might break.
Any way you look at it, Google Fiber is a big boon to techie Austin. When the installations began in Kansas City in 2012, it jumpstarted the start-up scene and encouraged companies to relocate there. Here’s a video Google released on Nov. 13, 2012.

Developing. We’ll keep you updated on the upcoming announcement here at

UPDATED: tech now with gina smith, april 9, 2013