Google Fiber's super fast broadband Internet service may be coming to tech-friendly Austin, Texas, where the likes of Dell, Samsung and Intel have already set up shop.
Austin news affiliate KVUE is reporting that "multiple City of Austin sources confirmed" that the city would be "next on the list." In another sign, Google and the city have sent out invitations to an April 9 press event in which it will make "a very important announcement that will have a positive impact on Austinites and the future of the city."
While Google hasn't confirmed the rumors, recently its own Fiber website reportedly temporarily included a placeholder titled "Google Fiber's next stop: Austin, Texas."
Google Fiber, with 1000 Mbps download and upload speeds, is 100 times faster than the Internet connection that most people have today. That means no more buffering videos, cloud gaming that doesn't slow down the entire house, and the genesis of HD videoconferencing for the average Joe. And it's cheap.
Residents of Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kansas -- the first U.S. cities to get it from Google -- only pay as little as $70 for their gig of Internet access. And for those Midwesterners who are happy with a regular old 5 Mbps connection, they can get it for free for seven years after paying a $300 construction fee.
Offering Fiber in Austin would make a lot of sense considering the Texas city is already a technology haven with Dell, Samsung and Intel offices located there. It also is home to tech startups and the SXSW Interactive conference, which focuses on emerging technologies.
Google Fiber is good news for consumers because eventually it will force cable companies to switch things up. For example, Comcast's fastest Internet plan currently offers download speeds up to 105 Mbps and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps for $20 more than Google Fiber's Gigabit Internet.
In addition to being relatively affordable and crazy fast, Google Fiber comes with other advantages.
Fiber doesn't have any bandwidth caps at all. This is huge for people in rural areas who rely on cellular carriers to get their high speed Internet. In such cases, most of these folks can forget about streaming anything, unless the exorbitant cost of blasting through data caps doesn't bother them. Another beautiful thing: Users who ante up for the Google Fiber with TV ($120/month) get a free Nexus 7 that they can use as a remote, or for consuming media all on its own.
The DVR box that comes with Google Fiber TV lets users record up to eight shows at one time. Its 2TB hard drive also means you can store as much as 500 hours of HD video.
And people who opt for the Internet-only version get 1TB of cloud storage on Google Drive. That means a user's every digital asset can be accessible from any Internet-connected device or computer whenever he or she needs it.
If you're jealous that it looks like Fiber may be coming to Austin and not your hometown, just remember this: Fiber users with less-than-stellar equipment or those trying to communicate with others on the Internet not blessed with a great connection aren't going to be very impressed with what they'll get.
If you've ever tried to Skype with someone working with either of these scenarios, you know what I mean.