Google Fiber is highly anticipated, and those lucky enough to be getting gigabit Internet service rejoice when they hear the news. For folks in Austin, Texas, the joy has quickly turned to frustration, as Google has announced Fiber is being delayed in that city. While Google initially planned to have Fiber up and running by mid-2014, it seems the opaque “later this year” is their new answer for when Austin will get Fiber.
So what’s the holdup? Digging holes, laying cable, and all the political hurdles that go with it. When Google rolls out Fiber in a new city, there is typically a ton of labor involved with the actual, physical cables. Google has a team dedicated to digging trenches, laying fiber cables — the whole nine yards. With that comes a myriad of permits Google has to get from various city offices, and that seems to be the holdup in Austin.
So far, Google only has a few permits for laying fiber optic cables in the south part of Austin, which could leave the rest of the city sans Fiber. That is less than desirable, and unlikely for two reasons: Google has agreements with various downtown businesses and condominium buildings, and their own Austin offices are located in the north part of town.
Austin has proved a battleground of sorts for Fiber, as competing internet providers hustle to keep pace as well as customers. AT&T is offering speeds up to 300Mbps, but famously announced their 1GB service around the time Google said they were bringing Fiber to Steven Austin’s namesake town. Though the delay is only about six months, it remains to be seen just how patient the residents of Austin can be.