City and Google Fiber representatives gathered at Geekdom's event center Wednesday morning to announce that San Antonio will be added to the list of Google Fiber cities in the U.S.
Think back to when dialup was the norm. The Internet was slow and people couldn't stream videos online. Then, when broadband surfaced, the Internet sped up and YouTube became a phenomenon. Now with gigabit speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second – the kind that Google Fiber and AT&T's Gigapower provides – it's hard to imagine what the future holds.
San Antonio has worked with Google for more than a year to bring the high-speed Internet to our city.
Mayor Ivy Taylor, who announced Wednesday that Google Fiber will soon begin implementing more than 4,000 miles of fiber-optic network cable to customers across San Antonio, said this project will strengthen the city's economy.
"It will help create jobs, it could convince established companies to dig up their roots elsewhere and move to San Antonio and be a springboard for startups, and local innovation, education and technology," Taylor said.
She said Google's entrance into the San Antonio market is one of the largest infrastructure investments a private company has made locally in years.
"I'm excited that this could mean amazing things for increasing access to affordable Internet service throughout our community," she said.
Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber's Texas division, said Google Fiber will have the capability to extend into residential neighborhoods.
"San Antonio is a very interesting city and a really attractive city to see what's possible with gigabit speeds," Strama said.
He said San Antonio has more data centers, more hosting capability, more cloud-based, cloud-driven businesses than almost anywhere in the country.
"What's really interesting is that while there are these big industries and businesses that have flourished based on high bandwidth and connectivity, what we really are excited about doing is extending that kind of connectivity all the way to people's homes and making it accessible to the small businesses and entrepreneurs in this economy," he said.
Lorenzo Gomez, director of Geekdom and the 80/20 Foundation, two tech-driven organizations that will help introduce Google to San Antonio's tech community, said Google Fiber does not have a definitive time span for implementation.
"They could start within a year, it could take them a couple of years, it really is up to how good their project management team is going to be," he said.
Contractors hired by Google have already filed permits to begin installing the network in a small section of a neighborhood on the northwest side between loops 1604 and 410. The plans don’t say if the Great Northwest neighborhood will indeed be ground zero for Fiber.
“Google Fiber recognizes that San Antonio is poised to embrace the digital revolution and lead in the 21st century economy. I look forward to working with Google and other industry providers to create access for every San Antonian," Councilmember Ron Nirenberg (D8) stated in a news release. "Partnerships between the private and public sectors will ensure that San Antonio is a city of opportunity and prosperity by building infrastructure, improving service, expanding access and reducing cost.”
*Featured/top image: Left to Right, Mark Strama, Mayor Ivy Taylor, and Lorenzo Gomez pose for a photo after the announcement of Google Fiber coming to San Antonio. Photo by Joan Vinson.