Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet the Google Fiber Academy

Three years ago, I laid out a vision for how customer service would be different with Google Fiber. We wanted people to expect friendly representatives, quick answers, and experiences that show they’re valued. We’ve worked hard to rise to this challenge—visitors at our service centers are helped in under one minute on average, while call center hold times are just 33 seconds on average. As Google Fiber grows, our mission is to keep our customer service standards high across all of our Fiber cities.

Today, we’re introducing the Google Fiber Academy, a brand new training facility based in Metro Atlanta. Google Fiber vendors will send in-home installers from around the country to the Academy to take courses including how to provide high quality customer service, the best techniques for installing Google Fiber, and the most helpful ways to demo our product for customers.

Google Fiber’s customer service is based on one simple principle—treat people with respect. That means showing up on time for appointments, which installers working with Google Fiber do 96% of the time. It means taking care of people’s homes, like planting new grass seed after digging, when needed. And it means never treating people like a number. Take, for example, the contractor who found a customer’s lost puppies and watched them until the owner returned.

Google Fiber is shaping people’s expectations—they’re demanding faster Internet at more affordable prices. My hope is to have this same impact on customer service. We’ve had the opportunity to build our customer service experience from the ground up. Now, the Fiber Academy will enable us to exceed your expectations as we grow.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Exploring Three New Cities for Google Fiber

Demand for superfast Internet is at an all-time high. The White House has started new initiatives to encourage faster Internet, while local companies like Kansas City’s Fuller Creative are relying on gigabit speeds to grow. And Americans are signing up for gigabit Internet at a growth rate of 480% each year. While much of the United States still lags behind the rest of the world in Internet speeds, cities like Kansas City—where Fiber started—rank amongst the fastest cities in the world. We want to see more U.S. cities at the top of that list.

Today, we’re inviting three more cities—Irvine, CA, Louisville, KY, and San Diego, CA—to work with us to explore bringing Google Fiber to their communities. Our next step is to begin a joint planning process with city leaders, just as we did when we began working with nine metro areas last year.

Irvine, Louisville and San Diego will join twelve metro areas where we're connecting users, designing and constructing new networks, or exploring the possibility of Google Fiber.

To kick things off, we’ll work with Irvine, Louisville and San Diego to conduct a detailed study of factors that affect construction, such as local topography, housing density, and the condition of existing infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items—such as providing a map of utility lines—that will prepare them for a large-scale fiber build.

We’ve seen that this planning process is helpful, both for Google Fiber and city officials—working together, we can take a massive infrastructure project and break it into manageable pieces.

Once we complete this planning process, we’ll determine if we can bring Google Fiber to Irvine, Louisville and San Diego. Every city is different and will move on a unique timeline, so we’ll keep in touch with residents about our progress along the way. And regardless of whether Google Fiber comes to the region, this process gives cities a head start in welcoming any gigabit provider to the area.

It’s clear that Irvine, Louisville and San Diego have strong leaders at city hall, who are passionate about bringing fiber to their communities and making the Internet more accessible for everyone. From Code Louisville to San Diego’s startup scene to Irvine’s collaborative workplaces, these cities are growing tech hubs with entrepreneurial cultures—great places to show us what’s possible with gigabit speeds. We’re looking forward to working together as we explore bringing Google Fiber to these communities.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Everything's faster in Texas: Google Fiber is coming to San Antonio

Fast growing cities need Internet speeds that can keep up with their progress. For the 1.4 million residents of San Antonio, one of the biggest and fastest growing cities in the country, this is truer than ever. Which is why, today, we’re proud to announce that Google Fiber is coming to San Antonio—the largest Fiber city to date.

From starting Bexar BiblioTech, the first all-digital public library in the U.S., to being named a leading city in cybersecurity, San Antonio has developed a thriving tech landscape. Hundreds of startups have found their home in the Alamo City through collaborative workspaces and accelerators like Geekdom and Cafe Commerce. Moreover, San Antonio’s recent selection for President Obama’s Tech Hire and Connect Home initiatives will help create a pipeline of tech jobs and narrow the digital divide. With speeds up to 1,000Mbps, compared to the U.S. average of just 12Mbps (Akamai, Q1 2015), Google Fiber will further fuel the city’s growth.

Kansas City, Provo, and fellow Texas tech-hub Austin have already shown what’s possible when growing cities and businesses have access to gigabit internet. In the homes of those using Google Fiber, families spend less time arguing over bandwidth, and more time surfing the web. In Kansas City, small businesses like Propaganda3 use Google Fiber to develop more software faster, while others like Midtown Signs use it to upload large files in a flash. As Google Fiber begins to help individuals, families, and businesses work toward their goals in San Antonio, we will have more stories that reflect this city’s unique character.

Soon, we’ll enter the design phase of building our fiber network in San Antonio. We’ll work closely with city leaders over the next several months to plan the layout of over 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cables—enough to stretch to Canada and back—across the metro area. This is no small task, and it will take some time, but we can’t wait to get started.

 For information about Google Fiber’s progress in your area, visit our website and join our mailing list for updates.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How policymakers can support broadband abundance

Nearly three years ago, Nick Budidharma, an 18­ year­ old game developer, drove with his parents from Hilton Head, S.C., to live in a “hacker home” that’s connected to the Google Fiber network. Synthia Payne relocated from Denver to launch a startup that aims to let musicians play together in real­-time online. Kansas City -- America’s first Google Fiber city -- has been transformed.

Today, Google Fiber continues to make the Internet faster and more accessible to more people across the country. Michael Slinger, Director of Google Fiber Cities, will testify today before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to urge policymakers to play a more active role in expanding nationwide broadband abundance.

Today’s hearing will highlight the expansion of broadband deployment, recent infrastructure developments, and policies that will encourage investment in broadband expansion. Michael will share our experience building out Google Fiber to present ideas for how policymakers can support greater broadband abundance:

“Policymakers’ top broadband goal should be achieving broadband abundance — which requires reducing the cost of network buildout and removing barriers that limit providers’ ability to reach consumers. The key is to focus on competition, investment, and adoption.”

When lawmakers successfully support broadband infrastructure and development, Americans will have more choices at higher speeds, small businesses will have the opportunity to expand, and local economies will grow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bringing Internet access to public housing residents

The web is where we go to connect with people, learn new subjects, and find opportunities for personal and economic growth. But not everyone benefits from all the web has to offer. As many as 26% of households earning less than $30,000 per year don’t access the Internet, compared to just 3% of adults with annual incomes over $75,000. Google Fiber is working to change that. Today, in all of our Google Fiber markets, we’re launching a program to connect residents in select public and affordable housing properties for $0/month with no installation fee.

This initiative is part of ConnectHome, a bold new program launched by the White House and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that aims to bring Internet connectivity to more school-aged children and families living in HUD-assisted housing in 28 communities across the country. We’re proud to partner with HUD to connect families in four of the communities they’ve selected—Atlanta, Durham, Nashville and Kansas City. We’ll also extend the program to every other current and future Google Fiber market.

We realize, though, that providing an Internet connection is just one piece of the puzzle. People can only take advantage of the many benefits of the web when they understand why it matters and know how to use it. That’s why we’ll also partner with ConnectHome and local community groups to develop basic computer skills training and create computer labs to host these trainings in each of our Fiber markets.

This program was inspired by our work with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) on their Unlocking the Connection initiative. Through the initiative, HACA has led collaborations with Google Fiber,, and local community groups such as Austin Free-Net and Austin Community College to help residents of HACA communities sign up for $0/month Internet connection, enroll in digital literacy classes and access computers—all at no cost.

HACA residents have embraced this program. At Manchaca Village, the first public housing property we engaged, over 90% of residents signed up for service, and more than half of the residents completed digital literacy training. With support from local organizations and city leaders, we hope to see this same kind of success across the country.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Now accepting applications for the first-ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship

When people have access to the web, opportunities are just a click away—from learning how to sign up for health care, to finding affordable housing, to keeping in touch with family and friends. But today, more than 60 million Americans still aren’t using the Internet at home. While there are organizations across the U.S. that want to help bring these people online, many of them don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to launch new programs.

That’s why, in partnership with the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), we’re launching the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. The fellowship will pair 16 people with local community organizations in our eight Google Fiber metro areas—Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City—where they’ll spend a year building a digital inclusion program from the ground up.

This fellowship will help community organizations get more people connected to the web. For example, the Salt Lake Education Foundation’s fellows will teach parents how to communicate with their children’s teachers and access grades and attendance records online. Meanwhile Triangle Literacy Council’s fellow will create a mobile computing lab, which will travel to libraries, community centers, jails, and schools to teach people basic online tasks, like sending emails or finding health clinics.

NTEN will choose fellows from their local community, since they’ll know what kinds of programs will work best in their city. Once selected, they’ll travel to Google’s offices in Mountain View, Calif., to receive specialized training from NTEN on how to build effective digital inclusion programs. And throughout the fellowship, Google Fiber will provide approximately $1 million to support salaries and benefits for fellows, and stipends to organizations so they have the resources to launch their new programs.

So if you’re passionate about access to the Internet and want to unlock new opportunities for residents in your community, apply at now through June 10, 2015.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Advancing digital literacy in Kansas City

From helping job-seekers expand their digital skills to teaching seniors how to email long-distance relatives, organizations in Kansas City are finding new ways to show residents why the Internet matters. We know that access to the Internet can have a transformative impact on people’s lives. So last year, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which is supported by Google Fiber and five other partners, announced the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund to support organizations advancing digital literacy in the local community.

Today, the Digital Inclusion Fund is making its second round of grants to six groups that are kicking digital literacy efforts into high gear. With today’s awards, the Digital Inclusion Fund has contributed more than $430,000 to digital literacy projects since it made its first grants in 2014. The organizations receiving grants to grow their digital literacy programs this year are:

Connecting for Good
Hispanic Economic Development Corporation
Kansas City Public Library
Literacy Kansas City
Trinity Community Church / Shepherd’s Center

Many of these organizations are two-time recipients of Digital Inclusion Fund grants—and over the last year, they’ve demonstrated the tremendous value they bring to Kansas City. ArtsTech has trained teenagers as Digital Connectors who have taught more than 250 seniors how to get online. Last year, Connecting for Good refurbished nearly 1,000 computers and provided them to the community at an affordable price. Kansas City Public Library introduced new technologies to the more than 2,000 students who have visited the library’s open-door Digital Media Lab.

Digital literacy training at the Trinity Community Church

We’re also delighted to welcome the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a supporter of the Digital Inclusion Fund. In keeping with its mission to promote educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, the Kauffman Foundation will join Google Fiber, Sprint, The Illig Family Foundation, Polsinelli, Global Prairie and JE Dunn Construction in supporting the third round of grants next year.

The web holds unlimited possibilities for the Kansas City community, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this year’s grantees help residents unlock that potential. Organizations interested in applying for the next round of grants can learn more from the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, and look out for the next round of applications in August 2015.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Introducing dial-up mode

At Google Fiber, we are passionate about superfast Internet. We believe that people shouldn’t wait to connect to the things they care about—like that awesome YouTube video, can’t-miss TV series or those photos from the last family vacation.

But as we've rolled out Google Fiber in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, we’ve learned that Fiber has been impacting our subscribers in ways that we didn’t expect. Loading bars used to give people an opportunity to pause and take care of the little things—like making a cup of coffee, taking a bathroom break or playing with the dog. We’ve been told that Fiber’s seemingly instant connections have taken away that precious time.

This got us thinking—what if we could help people get their time back even while they used Fiber? We worked with dial-up engineers, 56k researchers and T1 enthusiasts across the world to build our newest feature: dial-up mode.

It wasn’t easy, but we got to the root of the problem. By incorporating dial-up technology, we were able to reduce Fiber speeds up to 376 times by withholding photons from the fiber strands. In doing so, the light-based fiber optic technology dims to a flicker of its previous capacity, giving our users those precious moments to load the dishwasher, hug the kids or walk the dog.

To activate this new feature, simply click the menu at the top right-hand corner of your browser and select 'Dial-up Mode'. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the power of slowness.

Over the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out dial-up mode to gigabit customers in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin, helping meet the need for slow. We hope to bring this feature to all Google Fiber subscribers soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Google Fiber is coming to Salt Lake City

During my time working in Provo, I’ve seen the impact of Google Fiber firsthand. Hackers from across the country have gathered at DevMountain to develop new web and mobile applications; the United Way of Utah County has promoted new digital literacy programs throughout the community; and one organization, called Now I Can, has used Google Fiber to remotely connect parents with their children undergoing intensive physical therapy in Provo.

Now, another city in the Silicon Slopes is poised to show the world what’s possible with gigabit Internet. Today, we’re ready to bring Google Fiber to one more metro area—Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake has more than breathtaking mountain vistas and fantastic ski slopes. It also hosts a booming technology sector, world-renowned universities and a vibrant local culture. We’re looking forward to seeing Salt Lake residents use gigabit Internet to spark creative ideas, jumpstart businesses and collaborate in ways they couldn't before.

Salt Lake City will join the Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham metro areas in the design phase of building our fiber network. Over the coming months, we’ll work closely with these cities to map out just where to lay our fiber-optic cables. There’s a lot of work ahead; as the new Associate City Manager for Google Fiber in Salt Lake City, I can’t wait to see what the city does with superfast Internet.

For information about Google Fiber’s progress in your area, visit our website and sign up for updates.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Google Fiber for Small Business arrives in Provo (plus more of Kansas City)

Since we launched our Early Access program in Kansas City, small businesses have experienced the magic that comes with gigabit speeds. Take, for example, the documentary film studio that no longer has to ship hard drives to clients to avoid long upload times; or the software developer who can reliably access cloud systems that are vital to his business. Without the stress and lost time of a slow Internet connection, small businesses can focus on what matters most.

Today, we’re bringing Google Fiber for Small Business to Provo and its vibrant small business community, as well as expanding to additional areas of Kansas City (Kansas City North and South). Small businesses in these areas can sign up for our Early Access program, and get gigabit Internet for just $100 per month. In the words of Provo Mayor John Curtis, small businesses can “kiss loading bars goodbye.”

Provo has already shown us what’s possible when an emerging technology hub has access to gigabit Internet — from the DevMountain coding school, to a growing community at the Startup Dojo, or a geneticist who is using gigabit Internet to download an entire human genome in under an hour. We can’t wait to see what the city’s small businesses do with Google Fiber.

If you’re a small business in Provo or in Kansas City, visit our website to get the latest and check if your business is eligible for Google Fiber.