Google Fiber Expanding Services to More Far-Westside Residents

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Several Google Fiber vans appeared in the Rand building garage on Tuesday.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

Several Google Fiber vans are parked in the Rand building garage.

Google Fiber is rolling out its services to more residents on San Antonio’s far-Westside. As of Tuesday, additional households in the Westover Hills neighborhood can sign up for the high-speed internet service.

The deadline to sign up is May 17.

The company turned on its San Antonio fiber optic network in November, two years after announcing it would bring the service to the city. It is currently only available to residents in a handful of areas in West San Antonio, including neighborhoods near West End Park and Westover Hills.

Google Fiber does not publicize how many people subscribe to its internet service.

As Google Fiber has launched with a phased approach to expansion, AT&T and other telecommunications powers have constructed new fiber optic lines in San Antonio neighborhoods and begun offering gigabit and other broadband internet speeds.

But Tyler Wallis, city manager for Google Fiber San Antonio, said his company’s service reliably provides the speeds as advertised. Even though other providers might have a leg up in the comprehensiveness of their infrastructure and accessibility, “you have to look closely” at the speeds consumers are receiving, Wallis said.

“We have a very clean approach to what we offer; we offer one product and that is about 1,000 megabits per second for $55 a month,” he said. “You’re not going to find any other competitors that are offering that kind of bandwidth for that kind of price.”

AT&T offers its comparable Internet 1000 service for $80 a month, according to its website.

Wallis said once residents sign up, crews will work to establish a connection in their home. When done, residents will receive an email notification and their services will begin.

Google Fiber provides 1,000 megabits-per-second speed for both downloading and uploading, the latter of which has traditionally been lower than former, but things are changing as smart-home devices are increasing in ubiquity.

The internet-of-things concept – or the idea of giving traditionally analog devices, such as home appliances, keys, or vehicles the ability to transmit data – is driving this increased demand for upload speeds, Wallis said.

Although the majority of San Antonio residents are not yet able to register, he said the goal is to reach as much of the city as possible in the future. Wallis noted Google Fiber is at the beginning of its buildout. New neighborhoods will be announced in April and May, and they will have similar signup cycles, Wallis said.

“We are constantly in the planning and construction phase,” he said. “As new neighborhoods are built out, we then open them up for sales. While we’re doing the installs there, we’re building out the next neighborhoods. We’re in a pretty good cycle right now of building, selling, installing, and then while we’re installing we’re building out the next section.”

Last April, Google Fiber announced it would remove a “fiber hut” in Haskin Park on the city's Northside that had drawn strong criticism from area residents and decrease the overall number of such structures to be installed across the city. Google officials said they would instead utilize trenching to bury network lines, which would speed up the installation process and cause less disruption in communities.

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