WHAT GOOGLE’S SHIFTS MEAN FOR AUSTIN

Re­port: Com­pany has can­celed high-speed work in Kansas City.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Gary Dinges gdinges@states­man.com

Google Fiber ap­pears to be pulling back on in­stalling its high­speed in­ter­net ser­vice in Kansas City, Mo., ac­cord­ing to pub­lished re­ports, but the tech­nol­ogy gi­ant says it’s still com­mit­ted to rolling out 1-gi­ga­bit ser­vice here in Austin.

Bloomberg news ser­vice re­ported this week that Google Fiber has been con­tact­ing would-be cus­tomers in the Kansas City area, telling them their planned in­stal­la­tions had been can­celed and of­fer­ing them re­funds.

Kansas City was the first city where Google — which has since changed its name to Al­pha­bet Inc. — rolled out its high-speed Fiber ser­vice.

“Sev­eral hun­dred people, many of whom paid de­posits years ago, are af­fected, said a per­son fa­mil­iar with the sit­u­a­tion,” ac­cord­ing to the Bloomberg re­port.

“In mar­kets Google Fiber en­tered af­ter Kansas City, it was more care­ful about ac­cept­ing de­posits only for build­ings it be­lieved it could con­nect in com­ing quar­ters, the per­son said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied as the de­tails are pri­vate. Fiber is cur­rently in nine lo­ca­tions around the U.S.”

Google Fiber drew na­tional at­ten­tion — and en­thu­si­as­tic lo­cal sup­port — when it an­nounced in April 2013 that it planned to bring its su­per-fast Google Fiber ser­vice to Austin.

At 1-gi­ga­bit speeds, a user can down­load 25 songs in 1 sec­ond, a TV show in 3 sec­onds and a high-def­i­ni­tion movie in less than 36 sec­onds, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try fig­ures. Area of­fi­cials hailed it as a boon for Austin’s econ­omy and its tech­nol­ogy sec­tor.

Google Fiber’s high-speed ser­vice made its de­but in South and South­east Austin in 2015.

In a writ­ten state­ment pro­vided to the Amer­i­can-States­man this week, Google Fiber said it has no plans to scale back its roll­out or pull out of the Austin mar­ket en­tirely.

“Google Fiber is here to stay in Austin,” the state­ment said. “We’ll con­tinue to serve our cus­tomers with the same great ser­vice they’ve come to ex­pect from us. In ar­eas we’re con­struct­ing, we’re work­ing as quickly as we can to com­plete our Fiber net­work.

“Thanks to a con­struc­tion method we’ve been pi­lot­ing in Austin called mi­cro-trench­ing, we’ve seen a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in dig speed (i.e., lay­ing fiber),” the state­ment said.

Google Fiber has faced its share of chal­lenges launch­ing ser­vice in Austin, in­clud­ing de­lays and hun­dreds of con­struc­tion-re­lated com­plaints from area res­i­dents.

‘Google Fiber is here to stay in Austin. ’ Google Fiber In writ­ten state­ment

LAURA SKELDING / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN 2014

Google Fiber opened a store­front on Sec­ond Street in down­town Austin in the for­mer chil­dren’s mu­seum space af­ter be­gin­ning the project. The 1-gi­ga­bit ser­vice made its de­but in South and South­east Austin in 2015, and com­pany of­fi­cial said this week that Google will con­tinue to lay the high-speed fiber in Austin even as it pulls back in metro Kansas City, one of its nine lo­ca­tions.

RALPH BARRERA / AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN 2016

Side­walk bar­ri­ers mark the spot in South­east Austin’s Spring­field sub­di­vi­sion on Run­ning Water Drive early last year as Google Fiber con­trac­tors con­tin­ued in­stalling lines for su­per-fast in­ter­net ser­vice. Google Fiber has been the ob­ject of hun­dreds of com­plaints re­lated to its con­struc­tion work.

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