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Austin named as second city to get Google Fiber broadband

Together with Kansas City, Austin will be the site of a Google Fiber network 100 times faster than the average broadband.

By Matthew Shaer / April 10, 2013

Google Fiber is coming to Austin, Google announced this week.

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Last year, Google announced that Kansas City would be the first city to host Google Fiber, a fiber-optic network said to be a hundred times faster than a traditional broadband connection. This week, the Mountain View giant confirmed that it had selected a second city for the program: Austin, Texas

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Austin, Google's Milo Medin wrote in a post on the Google Fiber blog, is "a mecca for creativity and entrepreneurialism, with thriving artistic and tech communities, as well as the University of Texas and its new medical research hospital. We’re sure these folks will do amazing things with gigabit access, and we feel very privileged to have been welcomed to their community," Mr. Medin added. 

No word on exactly when the Fiber network in Austin would be implemented, but if you live in the city, and you'd like to be included in the early push, you can sign up for updates here

So are we on the cusp of a nationwide Google Fiber network? Well, don't hold your breath. For one, as Cyrus Farivar points out this week at Ars Technica, Google Fiber is expensive. Mr. Farivar quotes a new analysis from Carlos Kirjner and Ram Parameswaran of Alliance Bernstein, who have estimated that it would cost Google $11 billion over five years to even lay the groundwork for a nationwide push. 

"We remain skeptical that Google will find a scalable and economically feasible model to extend its build out to a large portion of the US," Kirjner and Parameswaran have written in a new paper, according to Ars Technica, "as costs would be substantial, regulatory and competitive barriers material, and in the end the effort would have limited impact on the global trajectory of the business." 

Moreover, as Ryan Lawler of TechCrunch wrote last year, at the time of the Kansas City announcement, there's also the small matter of personnel – Google would need more customer service staff, and it would need an army of trained technicians. 

"And let’s keep in mind, cable technicians — the people who actually do this stuff — aren’t just born," Mr. Lawler writes. "There’s all sorts of training that they go through to learn how to hook up and subsequently wire a home, and it’s doubtful that Google is just going to train a bunch of newly minted techs to take care of its high-profile fiber rollout." 

For more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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