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"It was a no-brainer," he said of the switch. Call it the Google Fiber effect. Google makes a splashy announcement that it intends to build a super high-speed network in a city. Competition follows, which translates into higher-speed services and lower prices for consumers. A year after Google unveiled its plans in Austin, investments in gigabit fiber networks are being announced across the country. Incumbent Internet providers, like AT&T, and new entrants alike are taking elements of the Google Fiber playbook and applying them to their own deployments as they try to stay ahead of Google. AT&T last week said it was talking to 21 major metropolitan areas about an expansion of its U-verse with GigaPower fiber service. Others such as regional wireless operator C-Spire, which is using the Google Fiber business plan to build a fiber broadband network in Mississippi, are creating new lines of business using existing infrastructure.

How Google chooses the cities it deploys fiber to has been a mystery, but sister site TechRepublic recently attempted to bring some clarity to the selection process, Within a week of mod triangles - navy blush mint iphone case Google's declaration last spring that it planned to build a fiber network in the city of Austin, AT&T, which is based a few hours' drive away in Dallas, announced its own Austin fiber network, And in less than a year's time, AT&T and local cable operator Grande Communications have beaten Google to market with their own ultra-high speed services using newly built fiber networks..

Like Google, which offers service over its fiber network in two cities today, these companies are striving for 1Gbps speeds at affordable prices -- less than $100 a month -- making ultra high-speed broadband a much more attractive offering for consumers, who stream lots of video, play online games and want to upload photos and other files in seconds rather than hours. Even slow-moving incumbent cable operator Time Warner Cable has increased speeds on its traditional copper cable infrastructure. "Google Fiber has been the biggest driver of the fiber-to-the home movement," said Blair Levin, executive director of the Gig.U project and head of the committee that wrote the 2010 National Broadband Plan for the Federal Communications Commission.

In 2008, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the US as No, 15 mod triangles - navy blush mint iphone case out of 30 countries when it came to broadband penetration and speeds, With the US in the midst of a massive recession back then, prospects for investment in new broadband infrastructure looked dismal, But Google Fiber seems to have lit a fire under the feet of the broadband industry, "In 2009 when we were writing the National Broadband Plan it looked like the US was headed toward a significant under-investment in broadband infrastructure by 2020," Levin said, "Other countries were well ahead of us, But I have to say since Google's announcements, things are a whole lot better than what we had predicted five years ago."Google says that it has also noticed an uptick in gigabit projects throughout the US, as broadband providers recognize that people have a "need for speed.""The truth is, people across America want access to faster Internet," Jenna Wandres, a spokeswoman for Google Fiber said in an email, "There's a growing demand for speed from folks, who don't want to wait for videos to buffer, and who don't want to fight their family members for bandwidth, This was really the main reason we decided to build Fiber back in 2009."Google is still going through Austin's permitting process before it begins its initial fiber deployment, Currently, Kansas City and Provo, Utah are the only cities in which Google Fiber is available, Earlier this year, the company listed 34 cities in nine metro markets that it was considering for deployment..

Austin, a city of about 865,000 people, might be the luckiest city in the country when it comes to Internet access. Proud Austinites will rattle off a list of reasons why their city is ripe for massive capital investments in new, speedier Internet infrastructure. The once small college town, which is also home to the Texas state legislature, often makes it onto top 10 lists of best places to live in the US. This, coupled with the city's thriving tech and arts scene, has made it one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Whole Foods and Dell are headquartered here, and Apple, Samsung, Facebook, and DropBox are opening offices. SXSW, the popular music and tech festival, also makes its home here.

As a result, Austinites are particularly tech-savvy, according to AT&T's executives, Not only did the city have a higher concentration of Apple iPhone users compared to big cities like Chicago or New York when the smartphone was released in 2007, but broadband consumers in Austin often use 15 percent to 20 percent more data than the average AT&T U-verse customer, according to Dave Nichols, AT&T state president of Texas, who is a key lobbyist for the company in Texas, "When we decided to launch our fiber service, we couldn't think of a better place than Austin," he said, "When it comes to mod triangles - navy blush mint iphone case technology it's very forward-looking."AT&T maintains it has been planning this fiber upgrade for a long time, and that Google's announcement didn't affect the timing of its network..

But Rondella Hawkins, the telecommunications and regulatory affairs officer for the city of Austin, said she had never heard about AT&T's plans before Google's news came out. Hawkins was part of the original committee that put together Austin's application to become the first Google Fiber city. The city ultimately lost out to Kansas City. "Our application for Google would have been a good tip-off to the incumbents that we were eager as a community to get fiber built," Hawkins said in an interview. "But we never heard from them. Until Google announced that it was going to deploy a fiber network in Austin, I was unaware of AT&T's plans to roll out gigabit fiber to the home."Grande Communications' CEO Matt Murphy admits that without Google in the market, his company wouldn't have moved so aggressively on offering gigabit speeds. It also wouldn't be offering its service at the modest price of $65 a month, considering that the average broadband download speed sold in the US is between 20Mbps and 25Mbps for about $45 to $50 a month.

"1 gigabit per second is mod triangles - navy blush mint iphone case such a leap in terms of speeds," Murphy said, "It's nothing we would have even considered doing yet without Google in the market."Even with such a tech-centric crowd, it's hard to imagine that three companies -- AT&T, Grande and Google -- decided at roughly the same time this city should be among the first to get ultra high-speed broadband, It's even harder to believe that all three players would decide to offer service that is more than 50 to 100 times faster than what they're currently offering at a cost that's only about $20 to $30 more than their average broadband package..

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