The latest news from the Fiber team
Six cities leading the way to bring more people online
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Guest post from Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities announcing the winners of the first-ever Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards.
With access to the Internet, people can search for jobs, take online classes, and connect with family — the Web can help citizens engage more deeply with their community. Across the U.S., city governments are recognizing the value of bringing more people online and taking bold actions to bridge the digital divide in their community—we want to recognize and celebrate these ideas. Today, at the
Congress of Cities
event in Nashville, TN,
Next Century Cities
National League of Cities
, in partnership with Google Fiber, are announcing the winners of the first-ever
Digital Inclusion Leadership Awards
The awards program consists of two categories: 1) Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices and 2) Most Promising New Plan. Within each category, we selected two overall winners and one additional winner for the most innovative project. These cities have launched computer labs throughout their communities, created specialized digital training programs, and awarded millions of dollars in funding to local organizations. Meet the inaugural winners who are tackling the digital divide in their community:
Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices
: The City of Philadelphia recognizes that Internet access is a key part of anti-poverty initiatives. Through the
program, the city has provided 50 computer labs to residents throughout Philadelphia. In just four years, public computers at these centers have been used more than 750,000 times to help low-income, homeless, and senior residents apply for government benefits, file taxes, and apply for jobs.
: In 1997, the City of Seattle launched the
Technology Matching Fund
(TMF), providing funding and technical resources to support more than 150 local organizations. TMF is linked closely with the City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, and participating organizations have helped residents create resumes and use email for the first time. With $3.9 million in funding and resources, TMF has reached more 43,000 Seattle residents over the program’s lifetime.
Most innovative — Davidson, NC
: Inspired by 12-year-old Franny Millen, who wanted to help more of her classmates access the Internet at home,
Eliminate the Digital Divide
(E2D) has provided homes with school-aged children in Davidson a computer and access to Internet. Mayor John Woods also named every second Saturday in May “E2 Lemonade Day” to support grassroots fundraising efforts, and has helped organize digital literacy classes for the community.
Most Promising New Plan
: The City of Austin’s
Unlocking the Connection
program addresses multiple barriers to getting online at home. In partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), Google Fiber, Austin Community College and other community organizations, the city will connect Austin’s 18 public housing communities, provide classes on how to use the web, and give refurbished computers to any resident who completes the digital training course. The City’s Grant for Technology Opportunity Program provides funding to upgrade onsite computer labs.
: Adapted from a successful initiative in Boston,
Tech Goes Home Chattanooga
(TGH CHA), trains staff and leaders at schools, community centers, libraries and churches how to get more people from low-income and underserved populations online. In 2016, Tech Goes Home CHA plans to reach 1,247 households by teaching computer skills classes, helping people signing up for affordable internet plans, and subsidizing chromebooks and iPads.
Most innovative — Washington, DC
: In order to increase Internet usage in low-income neighborhoods, the city of Washington, D.C. turned an old ‘bookmobile’ into a
Mobile Tech Lab
(MTL) by outfitting it with computers and Wi-Fi. Local nonprofit partners provide classes on the MTL as it visits neighborhoods with limited access to broadband. As part of the city’s Connect.DC program, residents complete computer trainings and pursue long-term goals, such as earning a GED.
Posted by Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
*A note on the selection process: Applicants were evaluated by a committee including one representative each from Next Century Cities, National League of Cities, Google Fiber, National Council of La Raza, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Smart Chicago. The Leader in Digital Inclusion Best Practices category recognizes digital inclusion efforts that have been operational for over one year, and the Most Promising New Plan category recognizes planned or incipient efforts that have been operational for less than a year. Winners were chosen based on their program’s ability to provide training, access, and hardware to a diverse range of participants, at low cost, with proven results and community engagement. We received 30 applications for these awards.
Exploring Fiber for Oklahoma City, Jacksonville and Tampa
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
, communities are coming together to accomplish great things with gigabit speeds. Still, less than
10% of homes
in the U.S. are connected to Internet served over fiber-optic networks. As more cities have access to superfast fiber networks, entrepreneurs will be better equipped to drive the next wave of innovation.
That’s why today, we’re inviting Oklahoma City, OK, Jacksonville, FL and Tampa, FL, to explore bringing Google Fiber to their communities, as we did last month with
three other cities
. These growing tech-hubs have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to small business growth. Their list of accolades is long—from Jacksonville’s title as a
top 10 city
for tech jobs, to Tampa Bay’s
on the list of best cities for young entrepreneurs, to Oklahoma City’s recognition as the #1 city to launch a business. One of our goals is to make sure speed isn't an accidental ceiling for how people and businesses use the Web, and these cities are the perfect places to show what’s possible with gigabit Internet.
Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, and Tampa will join
15 metro areas
where we’re serving customers, designing and building networks, or exploring the possibility of Google Fiber.
Now we start our joint planning process, when we work side-by-side with local leaders to create detailed studies of each metro area. Constructing a brand-new fiber network is a big job—the more we learn about a city, the smoother our construction efforts will be. We’ll study factors that may impact construction, like local infrastructure and housing density. City leaders will use our
to share key information such as maps of water and electricity lines. Early preparations not only help with our decision-making process—they help cities lay the groundwork for any service provider to enter the market.
At the end of this process, we’ll decide if we can bring Google Fiber to these areas. Oklahoma City, Jacksonville, and Tampa will join
15 other metro areas
where we’re serving customers, designing and building networks, or exploring the possibility of Google Fiber. While timelines will vary across communities, we’ll keep residents updated along the way; go to
and enter your email address to receive the latest news.
Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, Director, Google Fiber Expansion
Meet the Google Fiber Academy
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Three years ago, I
laid out a vision
for how customer service would be different with Google Fiber. We wanted people to expect friendly
, and experiences that show
. We’ve worked hard to rise to this challenge—visitors at our service centers are helped in under one minute on average, while call center hold times are just 33 seconds on average. As Google Fiber grows, our mission is to keep our customer service standards high across all of our Fiber cities.
Today, we’re introducing the Google Fiber Academy, a brand new training facility based in Metro Atlanta. Google Fiber vendors will send in-home installers from around the country to the Academy to take courses including how to provide high quality customer service, the best techniques for installing Google Fiber, and the most helpful ways to demo our product for customers.
Google Fiber’s customer service is based on one simple principle—treat people with respect. That means showing up
on time for appointments
, which installers working with Google Fiber do 96% of the time. It means
taking care of people’s homes
, like planting new grass seed after digging, when needed. And it means
never treating people like a number
. Take, for example, the contractor who
found a customer’s lost puppies
and watched them until the owner returned.
Google Fiber is shaping people’s expectations—they’re demanding faster Internet at more affordable prices. My hope is to have this
on customer service. We’ve had the opportunity to build our customer service experience from the ground up. Now, the Fiber Academy will enable us to exceed your expectations as we grow.
Posted by Alana Karen, Director, Google Fiber Customer Service
Exploring Three New Cities for Google Fiber
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Demand for superfast Internet is at an all-time high. The
has started new initiatives to encourage faster Internet, while local companies like Kansas City’s
are relying on gigabit speeds to grow. And Americans are
for gigabit Internet at a growth rate of 480% each year. While much of the United States still lags behind the
rest of the world
in Internet speeds, cities like Kansas City—where Fiber started—rank amongst the
in the world. We want to see more U.S. cities at the top of that list.
Today, we’re inviting three more cities—Irvine, CA, Louisville, KY, and San Diego, CA—to work with us to explore bringing Google Fiber to their communities. Our next step is to begin a joint planning process with city leaders, just as we did when we
began working with
nine metro areas last year.
Irvine, Louisville and San Diego will join
twelve metro areas
where we're connecting users, designing and constructing new networks, or exploring the possibility of Google Fiber.
To kick things off, we’ll work with Irvine, Louisville and San Diego to conduct a detailed study of factors that affect construction, such as local topography, housing density, and the condition of existing infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a
checklist of items
—such as providing a map of utility lines—that will prepare them for a large-scale fiber build.
We’ve seen that this planning process is helpful, both for Google Fiber and city officials—working together, we can take a massive infrastructure project and break it into manageable pieces.
Once we complete this planning process, we’ll determine if we can bring Google Fiber to Irvine, Louisville and San Diego. Every city is different and will move on a unique timeline, so we’ll keep in touch with residents about our progress along the way. And regardless of whether Google Fiber comes to the region, this process gives cities a head start in
gigabit provider to the area.
It’s clear that Irvine, Louisville and San Diego have strong leaders at city hall, who are passionate about
to their communities and
making the Internet more accessible
for everyone. From
to San Diego’s
, these cities are growing tech hubs with entrepreneurial cultures—great places to show us what’s possible with gigabit speeds. We’re looking forward to working together as we explore bringing Google Fiber to these communities.
Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, Director, Google Fiber Expansion
Everything's faster in Texas: Google Fiber is coming to San Antonio
Wednesday, August 05, 2015
Fast growing cities need Internet speeds that can keep up with their progress. For the 1.4 million residents of San Antonio, one of the biggest and
cities in the country, this is truer than ever. Which is why, today, we’re proud to announce that Google Fiber is coming to San Antonio—the largest Fiber city to date.
, the first all-digital public library in the U.S., to being named a
leading city in cybersecurity
, San Antonio has developed a thriving tech landscape. Hundreds of startups have found their home in the Alamo City through collaborative workspaces and accelerators like
. Moreover, San Antonio’s recent selection for President Obama’s
initiatives will help create a pipeline of tech jobs and narrow the digital divide. With speeds up to 1,000Mbps, compared to the U.S. average of just 12Mbps (
Akamai, Q1 2015
), Google Fiber will further fuel the city’s growth.
Kansas City, Provo, and fellow Texas tech-hub
have already shown what’s possible when growing cities and businesses have access to gigabit internet. In the homes of those using Google Fiber, families spend less time arguing over bandwidth, and more time surfing the web. In Kansas City, small businesses like
use Google Fiber to develop more software faster, while others like
use it to upload large files in a flash. As Google Fiber begins to help individuals, families, and businesses work toward their goals in San Antonio, we will have more stories that reflect this city’s unique character.
Soon, we’ll enter the design phase of building our fiber network in San Antonio. We’ll work closely with city leaders over the next several months to plan the layout of over 4,000 miles of fiber-optic cables—enough to stretch to Canada and back—across the metro area. This is no small task, and it will take some time, but we can’t wait to get started.
For information about Google Fiber’s progress in your area, visit our
and join our mailing list for updates.
Posted by Mark Strama, Head of Google Fiber, Texas
How policymakers can support broadband abundance
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Nearly three years ago, Nick Budidharma, an 18 year old game developer, drove with his parents from Hilton Head, S.C., to live in a “hacker home” that’s connected to the Google Fiber network. Synthia Payne relocated from Denver to launch a startup that aims to let musicians play together in real-time online. Kansas City -- America’s first Google Fiber city -- has been transformed.
Today, Google Fiber continues to make the Internet faster and more accessible to more people across the country. Michael Slinger, Director of Google Fiber Cities, will
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
to urge policymakers to play a more active role in expanding nationwide broadband abundance.
Today’s hearing will highlight the expansion of broadband deployment, recent infrastructure developments, and policies that will encourage investment in broadband expansion. Michael will share our experience building out Google Fiber to present ideas for how policymakers can support greater broadband abundance:
“Policymakers’ top broadband goal should be achieving broadband abundance — which requires reducing the cost of network buildout and removing barriers that limit providers’ ability to reach consumers. The key is to focus on competition, investment, and adoption.”
When lawmakers successfully support broadband infrastructure and development, Americans will have more choices at higher speeds, small businesses will have the opportunity to expand, and local economies will grow.
Posted by Staci Pies, Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel
Bringing Internet access to public housing residents
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
The web is where we go to connect with people, learn new subjects, and find opportunities for personal and economic growth. But not everyone benefits from all the web has to offer. As many as 26% of households earning less than $30,000 per year
don’t access the Internet
, compared to just 3% of adults with annual incomes over $75,000. Google Fiber is
working to change that
. Today, in all of our
Google Fiber markets
, we’re launching a program to connect residents in select public and affordable housing properties for $0/month with no installation fee.
This initiative is part of
, a bold new program launched by the White House and
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
that aims to bring Internet connectivity to more school-aged children and families living in HUD-assisted housing in 28 communities across the country. We’re proud to partner with HUD to connect families in four of the communities they’ve selected—Atlanta, Durham, Nashville and Kansas City. We’ll also extend the program to every other current and future Google Fiber market.
We realize, though, that providing an Internet connection is just one piece of the puzzle. People can only take advantage of the many benefits of the web when they understand why it matters and know how to use it. That’s why we’ll also partner with ConnectHome and local community groups to develop basic computer skills training and create computer labs to host these trainings in each of our Fiber markets.
This program was inspired by
Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA)
on their Unlocking the Connection initiative. Through the initiative, HACA has led collaborations with Google Fiber,
, and local community groups such as
Austin Community College
to help residents of HACA communities sign up for $0/month Internet connection, enroll in digital literacy classes and access computers—all at no cost.
HACA residents have embraced this program. At Manchaca Village, the first public housing property we engaged, over 90% of residents signed up for service, and more than half of the residents completed digital literacy training. With support from local organizations and city leaders, we hope to see this same kind of success across the country.
Posted by Erica Swanson, Head of Community Impact, Google Fiber
Updated 8:00am PDT to clarify Unlocking the Connections program
Now accepting applications for the first-ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship
Thursday, May 21, 2015
When people have access to the web, opportunities are just a click away—from learning how to sign up for health care, to finding affordable housing, to keeping in touch with family and friends. But today, more than 60 million Americans still aren’t using the Internet at home. While there are organizations across the U.S. that want to help bring these people online, many of them don’t have the in-house expertise or resources to launch new programs.
That’s why, in partnership with the
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)
, we’re launching the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. The fellowship will pair 16 people with local community organizations in our eight Google Fiber metro areas—Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Kansas City, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City—where they’ll spend a year building a digital inclusion program from the ground up.
This fellowship will help community organizations get more people connected to the web. For example, the
Salt Lake Education Foundation
’s fellows will teach parents how to communicate with their children’s teachers and access grades and attendance records online. Meanwhile
Triangle Literacy Council
’s fellow will create a mobile computing lab, which will travel to libraries, community centers, jails, and schools to teach people basic online tasks, like sending emails or finding health clinics.
NTEN will choose fellows from their local community, since they’ll know what kinds of programs will work best in their city. Once selected, they’ll travel to Google’s offices in Mountain View, Calif., to receive specialized training from NTEN on how to build effective digital inclusion programs. And throughout the fellowship, Google Fiber will provide approximately $1 million to support salaries and benefits for fellows, and stipends to organizations so they have the resources to launch their new programs.
So if you’re passionate about access to the Internet and want to unlock new opportunities for residents in your community, apply at
now through June 10, 2015.
Posted by Andrew Bentley, Digital Inclusion Program Manager, Google Fiber
Advancing digital literacy in Kansas City
Monday, April 13, 2015
From helping job-seekers expand their digital skills to teaching seniors how to email long-distance relatives, organizations in Kansas City are finding new ways to show residents why the Internet matters. We know that access to the Internet can have a
on people’s lives. So last year, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, which is supported by Google Fiber and five other partners,
the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund to support organizations advancing digital literacy in the local community.
Today, the Digital Inclusion Fund is making its second round of grants to six groups that are kicking digital literacy efforts into high gear. With today’s awards, the Digital Inclusion Fund has contributed more than $430,000 to digital literacy projects since it made its first grants in 2014. The organizations receiving grants to grow their digital literacy programs this year are:
Connecting for Good
Hispanic Economic Development Corporation
Kansas City Public Library
Literacy Kansas City
Trinity Community Church
Many of these organizations are two-time recipients of Digital Inclusion Fund grants—and over the last year, they’ve demonstrated the tremendous value they bring to Kansas City. ArtsTech has trained teenagers as Digital Connectors who have taught more than 250 seniors how to get online. Last year, Connecting for Good refurbished nearly 1,000 computers and provided them to the community at an affordable price. Kansas City Public Library introduced new technologies to the more than 2,000 students who have visited the library’s open-door Digital Media Lab.
Digital literacy training at the Trinity Community Church
We’re also delighted to welcome the
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
as a supporter of the Digital Inclusion Fund. In keeping with its mission to promote educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, the Kauffman Foundation will join
, The Illig Family Foundation,
JE Dunn Construction
in supporting the third round of grants next year.
The web holds unlimited possibilities for the Kansas City community, and we’re looking forward to seeing how this year’s grantees help residents unlock that potential. Organizations interested in applying for the next round of grants can learn more from the
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
, and look out for the next round of applications in August 2015.
Posted by Rachel Merlo on behalf of the Digital Inclusion Fund
Introducing dial-up mode
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
At Google Fiber, we are passionate about superfast Internet. We believe that people shouldn’t wait to connect to the things they care about—like that awesome YouTube video, can’t-miss TV series or those photos from the last family vacation.
But as we've rolled out Google Fiber in Kansas City, Provo and Austin, we’ve learned that Fiber has been impacting our subscribers in ways that we didn’t expect. Loading bars used to give people an opportunity to pause and take care of the little things—like making a cup of coffee, taking a bathroom break or playing with the dog. We’ve been told that Fiber’s seemingly instant connections have taken away that precious time.
This got us thinking—what if we could help people get their time back even while they used Fiber? We worked with dial-up engineers, 56k researchers and T1 enthusiasts across the world to build our newest feature: dial-up mode.
It wasn’t easy, but we got to the root of the problem. By incorporating
, we were able to reduce Fiber speeds up to 376 times by withholding photons from the fiber strands. In doing so, the light-based fiber optic technology dims to a flicker of its previous capacity, giving our users those precious moments to load the dishwasher, hug the kids or walk the dog.
To activate this new feature, simply click the menu at the top right-hand corner of your browser and select 'Dial-up Mode'. Then sit back, relax and enjoy the power of slowness.
Over the coming weeks, we'll be rolling out dial-up mode to gigabit customers in Kansas City, Provo, and Austin, helping meet the need for slow. We hope to bring this feature to all Google Fiber subscribers soon.
Maurice Clarke, Fiber Technologist
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