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San Antonio is One Step Closer to Getting Google Fiber


by: Katie Singh

Mon Mar 17, 2014 at 11:30 AM CDT


Last week, the city of San Antonio approved a major new contract with Google that sets the stage for the potential arrival of Google Fiber.

As the San Antonio Express-News reported, the contract is a lease agreement "with Google Fiber Texas, LLC. [that] gives the company the ability to efficiently deploy some 40 'fiber huts' - 12-by-26-foot communications shelters that house tech infrastructure for fiber-optic gigabit Internet, which clocks speeds 100 times faster than typical broadband."

Google Fiber is already available in Kansas City, and has begun to establish services in Provo, UT and Austin as well. Google has also announced plans to expand Fiber services to even more cities. Right now, it is considering nine major metropolitan areas for the service, including San Antonio.

San Antonio's approval of the lease for Google's "fiber huts" is an important step closer to having the necessary infrastructure to support Google Fiber. It sets the city apart as ready to handle Google Fiber services, should Google choose San Antonio as its next Fiber city.

Read more about Google Fiber in San Antonio after the jump.

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In addition to providing the physical infrastructure for Google Fiber, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro also said that the new contract will provide the legal framework for Google Fiber to move forward in San Antonio.

One more thing that sets San Antonio apart in the quest for Google Fiber is that the city owns the local power utility and majority of the city's utility poles. This would make it easier for Google to establish Fiber services, as there would be fewer actors and less bureaucratic red tape to go through. Most of the other cities under consideration have their utilities owned by third parties.

Mark Strama, who is heading Google Fiber in Austin, warned San Antonio that Google still has a lot to do before it makes a decision about which city will receive Google Fiber next. He said that Google still needs to conduct engineering studies to determine if San Antonio is fit for Google Fiber. Even if San Antonio is announced as the next Fiber city, it will take time for the high-speed services to be available to consumers--Austin was announced as a Google Fiber city nearly a year ago, and the service is still not available yet.

Nonetheless, San Antonio's new contract with Google Fiber is a key step toward possibly getting Fiber services in San Antonio. City council members and Mayor Castro alike have expressed excitement at the possibility of Google Fiber. Said Mayor Castro, "What we've seen in other communities in which Google Fiber has moved in is that it lowers the cost of Internet access for everyday consumers. And that's a great thing in a place like San Antonio, where we do still see a significant digital divide."

Google Fiber has immense potential to change the digital landscape, and it's exciting to know that Texas could soon have two cities with the service, leading the way toward innovation.



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