Even though Google announced in December of last year that sign-ups for its Fiber TV and Internet service were live to residents of southern and southeastern Austin, they’ve actually been opened and closed several times. Sign-ups are going live in the southeastern section yet again today, according to the official Twitter account for the company’s broadband cable and Internet subsidiary.
Google has a unique way of rolling out its Fiber service to new cities, and even further, within sections of cities. Once a city has been determined by the company to be an ideal place to receive Fiber, they then narrow down their initial service area even further by using data to determine where fiber optic cables can or cannot be laid – for example, if gas lines would impede their way – and after dividing a city into sections called “fiberhoods,” chooses areas wherein people show the most interest by signing up. Today’s announcement means neighborhoods in southeast Austin can begin signing up to try and be chosen.
We decided to do some further investigation into whether or not sign-ups did in fact reopen today (Google often posts to social media things that aren’t 100% new), and without any comment from Google it seems that they did. Here’s what the top of the Google Fiber website for Austin looked like yesterday:
And here’s what it looks like today:
In the first screengrab, you can clearly see a bar near the top which says, “Fiber is expanding in Southeast Austin. Check your address to be among the first to know when sign-ups open.” The Google cached version of this webpage shows that bar and included statement being present as of yesterday, so it’s clear that it was updated today.
One story on FierceTelecom.com dated April 6th indicates that Google’s roll-out of service in Austin has gone in fits and starts, with the company having opened and closed sign-ups several times over the past few months, and with no clear timetable for actually extending cable from the streets up to houses themselves. Here’s an email one potential customer received from Google:
“The truth is, we still have a lot of work to do before we can schedule your in-home installation appointment and we don’t know exactly how long it’s going to take,” notes the email to one neighborhood that was obtained by KXAN.com. “Our current plan is to start in-home installations in [the community] in the summer and we think it will take us about 3 months to install most of our customers (in) your fiberhood.”
The story goes on to say that Fiber has “opened and closed service sign-ups in Austin’s Bluebonnet and Lady Bird Lake neighborhoods” and in three other area communities as well, without much more specificity. Google, for its part, said at the time that it was choosing to send out these emails to potential customers proactively so that “they can make their plans accordingly. We don’t want anybody to be without Internet service.”