Google Fiber Coming to Austin

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America’s weirdest city is about to get wired.

From TIME Magazine:

Google Fiber is coming to Austin, Texas, according to multiple reports. If true, Austin, home of the South By Southwest festival, will become the largest city to receive Google’s super-fast, one gigabit Internet and TV service after Google Fiber’s initial launch in Kansas City last fall. In a tantalizing clue, Google Fiber’s news website briefly flashed a message over the weekend reading: “Google Fiber’s Next Stop: Austin, Texas.” Google may have inadvertently managed to scoop its own announcement, because the message was quickly removed.

“It’s no longer a question,” Austin-based blogger and telecom expert Stacey Higginbotham wrote on Saturday. “Google is bringing its Google Fiber network to Austin. I’ve confirmed it with sources and the brief publication of a post in the middle of the night by Google should assuage anyone else’s doubts.”

Google Fiber’s arrival in Austin would be the clearest signal yet that the tech giant is serious about becoming an Internet service provider — and isn’t merely out to shame the existing broadband giants with its lightning-fast service. In Austin, Google Fiber would compete with the nation’s second largest cable company, Time Warner Cable, which dominates the Austin market. (TIME parent Time Warner spun off the cable giant in 2009.) Last month, Google announced that it is expanding the service to the Kansas City suburb of Olathe.

“I don’t think this should surprise anyone because Google’s leadership has been saying that this is not just a science experiment,” says Blair Levin, a former senior Federal Communications Commission official who led the U.S. National Broadband Plan. “It’s looking more and more like they want to make this a real business, and that should excite everyone.”

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