Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Just for Austin: How you’ll be able to sign up for Google Fiber

When I first walked into the Google Fiber office, I was surprised by what I found: walls papered with maps of Austin, construction plans for every single neighborhood and a big team of engineers who knew the Austin area better than I. It struck me how much work it takes to build a city-wide network, and also how little my fellow Austinites and I really knew about Google Fiber. So, going forward I’ll share what I can with you, whenever I can, starting today with an explanation of how you’ll actually be able to sign up for service next year.

Getting Google Fiber will be a little different than what you might be used to. Google won’t choose which areas get Fiber — you and your neighbors will.

Over the next several months, we’ll start installing thousands of miles of fiber-optic cables to boxes called telecom cabinets throughout the entire city. One of these cabinets can serve you and a few hundred of your neighbors with Fiber — we call this grouping your “fiberhood.”

That’s where you come in. For us to bring Google Fiber to you, we need to know you want us! Each fiberhood will have a sign-up goal. Once you and your neighbors reach your goal, we’ll bring fiber the last mile (or so) from the cabinet to your homes within a few weeks.

This process will be transparent — you and your neighbors are in control. Next year, you’ll be able to go online and check a real-time map to see how close your fiberhood is to your goal, and see how other fiberhoods are doing. Plus, you’ll be able to see which local community organizations like libraries, schools and nonprofits (the City is selecting 100) will be getting Google Fiber service for free — as long as the fiberhood they’re in meets its goal.

One important thing you should know: you’ll only have a short window of time to sign up for service — probably a few weeks. This is because we focus our energy on a handful of fiberhoods at once, doing an all-out installation and construction blitz. We do this so we can provide you with better, faster service; we won’t make you wait around for a crew that’s stuck in traffic across town. After we’re done in one fiberhood, we’ll move on to the next. Please make sure you don’t miss your opportunity to sign up, because we don’t know when we’ll be able to come back!

Unfortunately, the missing detail that I don’t have yet is the date when you’ll be able to sign-up. We’ll let you know when we know — but in the meantime, I will try to write updates for you as I have them. Thanks for your patience, and know that we’re working hard to get Fiber to you as soon as we can!