Google Fiber comes to San Francisco

Signing up for the 1GB/s broadband service is limited, however.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer on

Google has announced plans to use dormant cabling in San Francisco to bring the high-speed Fiber service to some residents.

Google Fiber will be available for residents living in apartments and condos, but the rollout will be limited to where existing fiber-optical cabling is present.

This doesn't mean that the whole city, one day, won't be connected to Google's broadband service -- but for now, only some residents will be able to enjoy speeds reaching up to 1GB/s.

The broadband service, which is touted as up to 100 times faster than speeds offered by today's Internet Service Providers (ISPs), is in high demand. Since starting six years ago in Kansas City, the tech giant's plans to bring Fiber to ten cities have included Provo, Utah, Atlanta and Austin, Texas.

San Fransisco will be the 11th city to secure Google Fiber, albeit in a limited fashion for now. However, rolling out Google Fiber over urban areas is a long and sometimes messy process, as existing copper cabling is not suitable to support the high-speed service.

Unless Google can tap into dormant fiber-optic cables, the company has to lay down the infrastructure by scratch -- a process which has left some residents in Austin, Texas, in severe states of frustration and anger.

On Wednesday, Michael Slinger, the Director of Business Operations at Google Fiber, said in a blog post that while most Fiber installations need fiber-optic cables laid from scratch, San Fransisco is an exception.

In the same way that government officials from Huntsville, Alabama are working with Google in using the city's own fiber network to bring the high-speed alternative to residents, Google will use existing cabling to bring Fiber to "some apartments, condos, and affordable housing properties" across San Fransisco.

"By using existing fiber to connect some apartments and condos, as we've done before, we can bring service to residents more quickly," Slinger says.

"This approach will allow us to serve a portion of San Francisco, complementing the City's ongoing efforts to bring abundant, high-speed Internet to the City by the Bay."

The Mountain View, CA-based firm said that groundwork has to be established before it can offer any solid details on availability, service and timing, but Google has revealed the company plans to launch free connections for those affected by the "digital divide."

The initiative is aimed at low-income families living in public housing, and grants them Fiber speeds without cost to residents or councils. The scheme has already been launched across areas within Texas, and some low-income families in San Fransisco may also benefit when the Fiber rollout begins.

Google commented:

"San Francisco offers tremendous potential for gigabit Internet, and we hope Google Fiber will provide more fuel for this city's pioneering residents and entrepreneurs."

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