Thursday, October 02, 2014
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
|A steerable bore head helps create the path to run fiber underground|
|Making room for Google Fiber on Austin's utility poles|
Thursday, September 18, 2014
While many people think of gigabit internet as essential to the future of the Web, others have wondered if these fiber networks just might be too fast, too soon. Based on early evidence of the economic impact of fiber-fed, gigabit services, we believe that the time for gigabit skepticism is over.
Today the Fiber-to-the-Home Council Americas (FTTH Council) released a first-of-its-kind study — Early Evidence Suggests Gigabit Broadband Drives GDP — which looked at 55 communities in 9 states and found a positive impact on economic activity in the 14 communities where gigabit Internet services are widely available. In fact, these gigabit broadband communities exhibited a per capita GDP approximately 1.1 percent higher than the 41 similar communities with little to no availability of gigabit services.
This may not sound like much but consider this: in dollar terms, our research suggests that the 14 gigabit broadband communities studied enjoyed approximately $1.4 billion in additional GDP when gigabit broadband became widely available. (That’s enough money to buy the Buffalo Bills — if you wanted to).
Our study suggests that as gigabit services become available in more communities, the impact on economies and consumers is likely to be substantial. Indeed, if the 41 communities in our study without gigabit broadband were to adopt the new service, they could expect as much as $3.3 billion in incremental GDP. And we are not alone in this perspective; the ratings agency Fitch underscored this point when it upgraded Kansas City, Missouri’s bond ratings, noting that the gigabit to the home fiber network “[…] has the potential to make a significant economic impact.”
The deployment of widespread ultra-high bandwidth broadband offers great promise for our economic future, similar to the way that access to abundant electricity transformed the country, lighting up factories to produce affordable consumer goods and automobiles for transportation. The availability of electricity spurred an era of high productivity and economic growth. And now, we are beginning to see that access to abundant bandwidth is likely to have a similarly positive impact on our economy.
Widespread gigabit availability contributes to the economy in multiple ways. Investment in physical infrastructure and labor creates jobs and increases expenditures into inputs like electronics and fiber optic cable. But next generation broadband infrastructure can also shift economic activity, sparking local tech scenes and the relocation of businesses. Claris Networks moved its data center operations from Knoxville to Chattanooga to take advantage of its fiber network. Lafayette's network attracted Hollywood special effects company Pixel Magic to the community, because the high performance gigabit network lets Pixel Magic move computer files back and forth between Lafayette and California quickly. And from the Hacker House in Kansas City to Fargo’s Startup House in Fargo, North Dakota, local entrepreneurs are using gigabit networks to develop new applications and services, bringing in new investment and talent along the way.
In the last several years, communities, their leaders and several private companies have made moves to stimulate and support our economy by upgrading our networks to gigabit capabilities. They, and we, remain gigabit enthusiasts, willing to welcome the skeptics to help us make gigabit communities a priority.
Posted by Heather Burnett Gold, the FTTH Council and Dr. David Sosa, the Analysis Group
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
|Mayor John Curtis rallies Provo hunters while Guinness World Records looks on|
Monday, July 07, 2014
Starting today, residents in Westwood, Westwood Hills, Mission Woods and Roeland Park can start signing up for Google Fiber. To see whether your home is in one of these areas, go to our website at google.com/fiber and enter your address. If you’re eligible in this round of sign-ups, you’ll be able to select which Fiber package you want. Remember, you’ll only be able to sign-up for a limited time — from now until September 12th — so make sure you choose your plan sooner rather than later. This will help us to get installations started as quickly as possible.
We’re also giving residents in our original group of qualified fiberhoods — in Kansas City, Kan. and Central Kansas City, Mo. — another chance to sign-up for service. Between now and August 7th, you can go to our website and select your Fiber package.
Of course, as always, we’ll be out and about in the community to answer your questions and help you sign up for service. Over the next few weeks, we hope to see you at one of our events:
Summer Block Party - Join us for some family fun in the sun outside the Fiber Space. From face painting to cotton candy, we'll have something for everyone.
Saturday, July 12, 1pm-5pm @ The Google Fiber Space
Happy hour with Google Fiber - Enjoy a drink or two on us, plus appetizers and live music by Heather Thornton as we toast to gigabit speeds and summertime fun.
Thursday, July 17, 6pm-8pm @ The Legendary Rooftop (located on 2nd floor of garage)
Google Fiber Birthday Celebration - Google Fiber is turning 2, and we want to celebrate with you! Bring your family for face painting, cotton candy, cupcakes, tunes by DJ Robert DeGeorge, and more.
Saturday, July 26, 12pm-4pm @ The Google Fiber Space
Fiber Space Saturday - We're kicking off the weekend with activities for the whole family at the Fiber Space. From face painting to music by DJ Shaun Flo, we'll have something for everyone.
Saturday, August 2, 12pm-4pm @ The Google Fiber Space
Happy Hour with Google Fiber Wednesday, August 6, 6pm-8pm @ The Cashew
Posted by Carlos Casas, Kansas City Field Team Manager
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Fiber actually costs quite a bit more than $30 to install in a home; in Kansas City, for example, we charge $300. But Provo was looking for a partner that would help keep their vision — affordable, high-speed service for residents — alive. So we promised to offer a fiber connection, plus our Free Internet plan, for $30 to everyone who signed up for our first wave of local installations.
So far, many people have taken advantage of this. However, we’ve also heard from some of you who missed your deadline to get the $30 Fiber — you either moved to a new neighborhood, or you just didn’t know that you needed to sign up by a certain date — and you’ve asked us for another chance to get service. So from now until September 20th, we’re re-opening signups for Fiber; anyone in a Provo fiberhood can go to our website and sign up.
This is the last chance to get Fiber for $30 — after this wave of sign-ups and installations, our construction fee will probably be closer to the same $300 that we charge in Kansas City. So, if you’re interested in getting Fiber, now’s the time to sign up!
Have questions or want to learn more about Fiber? We’re going to be out and about throughout the community over the next few months and we’d love to chat with you or help you sign up!
July 3, 4, and 5 (10AM-8PM) - Visit our booth at the Freedom Days Festival (we’ll have popsicles, Google Fiber sunglasses, and t-shirts while supplies last!)
July 4 (9AM) - Freedom Festival Grand Parade
July 4 (7PM-10:30PM) - Provo Rooftop Concert Series
July 12 (11AM-2PM) - Family-friendly summer outdoor activities at the Google Fiber Field Day (at Provost Elementary School)
July 17 (6:30PM-10:30PM) - Movie Under the Stars (The Lego Movie!) at Bicentennial Park
July 19 (9AM-2PM) - Provo Farmer’s Market
Posted by John Richards, Head of Operations for Google Fiber in Provo
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
When you think about libraries, you may think of books stacked on shelves and quiet spaces to work. You can definitely find those in the Kansas City Public Libraries; but for more than a decade, we have also been adding digital resources. There are hundreds of computers, usually packed with folks reading the news, checking their email, or looking for jobs. And each week, we offer classes on computer and Internet basics. We started these efforts in part to address the “digital divide” — 25 % of Kansas City residents do not have the Internet at home, others don’t use the web at all, and many who do have access are not sure how to use it to their best advantage.
That is particularly true for youth. Often referred to as digital natives, they are not intimidated by technology. Yet we’ve seen that many teens either don’t have Internet access at home, or they have no idea how to translate their interest in digital media into personal and/or professional opportunities for growth. This lack of access and knowledge directly impacts their workforce readiness, since almost all jobs today require some level of expertise with digital resources.
So we asked an advisory board of teens how we could help them and their peers learn more about digital technology. With their feedback, and with funding from the MacArthur Foundation and the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund, we built a new program — the Kansas City Digital Media Lab (KCDML). KCDML teaches teens high-tech digital skills, and provides them with resources and a platform to find their voice and share their stories.
We opened KCDML at our North-East and Southeast library branches last month, and our teens dove right in. In their first project, they shot and edited personal videos using images they captured in the library. Next, they figured out how to use 3D printers to make Mother’s Day gifts. And in another project, we’ve started teaching teens how to code, focusing mostly on website development, game design, and app creation. (Did you know that the number of computer programming jobs in the U.S is expected to jump 30% from 2010 to 2020? Compare that to the average growth of all other U.S. jobs which is predicted to be just 14%. What a useful skill to pick up at your local library!).
Working on these projects and playing with fancy tech gadgets is cool — but the real opportunity for teens is that they get to work with and learn from a great group of adult collaborators. Kansas City is an amazing intersection of tech and creativity. We are a growing tech hub, and businesses in the KC area employ over 34,000 “digital storytelling” jobs — which means that, in addition to our dedicated library staff, we have a number of professionals who are willing to share their expertise in storytelling, coding and more with our youth.
Of course, while this opportunity for 1:1 learning is incredibly valuable, we also want the KCDML to be a place where teens can “geek out” and play on their own — spending time on what is most interesting to them. The idea of freedom within the space, and ownership over the instruction, is an important part of our lab. It gets noisy...It gets messy...But there is interest-based learning, project creation, and growth happening on every level. So far we have gotten great feedback from both the youth and the adults in the space, so we know we’re on the right track. Moving forward we’ll invite even more like-minded Kansas Citians to come out and be a part of the journey. We’ve got a lab, we’re going mobile, and we have a great group of participants and adult collaborators. We are looking forward to a summer full of noisy, geeky, excited exploration!
Posted by Andrea Ellis, Digital Youth Engagement Manager at the Kansas City Public Library
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
We’ve all had the moment where we scratch our heads and ask, “why is this video so slow?” Unfortunately, there’s no single answer to this question. Your video ‘packets’ of online bits and bytes have to travel a really long way, along several different networks, just to get to you, and they could be slowed down anywhere. So, because we know you want to stream videos and browse effortlessly, we’ve designed our network to minimize buffering.
Bringing fiber all the way to your home is only one piece of the puzzle. We also partner with content providers (like YouTube, Netflix, and Akamai) to make the rest of your video’s journey shorter and faster. (This doesn't involve any deals to prioritize their video ‘packets’ over others or otherwise discriminate among Internet traffic — we don't do that.)
Like other Internet providers, Google Fiber provides the ‘last-mile’ Internet connection to your home. Meanwhile, content providers spend a lot of money (many billions of dollars) building their own networks to transport their content all the way to those ‘last-mile’ connections. In that process, the content may run into bottlenecks — if the connections between the content provider and our network are slow or congested, that will slow down your access to content, no matter how fast your connection is.
So that your video doesn’t get caught up in this possible congestion, we invite content providers to hook up their networks directly to ours. This is called ‘peering,’ and it gives you a more direct connection to the content that you want.
We have also worked with services like Netflix so that they can ‘colocate’ their equipment in our Fiber facilities. What does that mean for you? Usually, when you go to Netflix and click on the video that you want to watch, your request needs to travel to and from the closest Netflix data center, which might be a roundtrip of hundreds or thousands of miles. Instead, Netflix has placed their own servers within our facilities (in the same place where we keep our own video-on-demand content). Because the servers are closer to where you live, your content will get to you faster and should be a higher quality.
We give companies like Netflix and Akamai free access to space and power in our facilities and they provide their own content servers. We don’t make money from peering or colocation; since people usually only stream one video at a time, video traffic doesn’t bog down or change the way we manage our network in any meaningful way — so why not help enable it?
But we also don’t charge because it’s really a win-win-win situation. It’s good for content providers because they can deliver really high-quality streaming video to their customers. For example, because Netflix colocated their servers along our network, their customers can access full 1080p HD and, for those who own a 4K TV, Netflix in Ultra HD 4K. It’s good for us because it saves us money (it’s easier to transport video traffic from a local server than it is to transport it thousands of miles). But most importantly, we do this because it gives Fiber users the fastest, most direct route to their content. That way, you can access your favorite shows faster. All-in-all, these arrangements help you experience the best access to content on the Internet — which is the whole point of getting Fiber to begin with!
Posted by Jeffrey Burgan, Director of Network Engineering
Thursday, May 01, 2014
We say “for the most part” because there’s still a lot of work to do over the next few months. We’ll start by working with cities to tie up some checklist-related loose ends. For example, we worked with city staffers to draft agreements that would let us place fiber huts on city land; several city councils still need to approve these agreements. We may spend some time working together to figure out an ideal permitting process that would be fast and efficient. And, as we review the information that cities have already provided, like infrastructure maps, we’ll probably have a lot of follow-up questions.
There’s also a lot to do beyond the checklist. We’ll need to work with either the city or the state to get something called a video franchise agreement, which would basically grant us permission to build a local network. We may also need pole-attachment agreements with local utilities or other companies who can rent us space on their poles. (Stringing fiber along existing poles is the fastest and least disruptive way to deploy it.)
After all of these steps, we’ll start drawing up construction blueprints for local fiber networks. These detailed designs will help us see how complex it would be to build in each city, and will be used as we make our final decisions.
Finally, don’t be surprised (or get too excited!) if you run into a Google Fiber crew doing work around your town, or see postings for local jobs on our Fiber team; before we make a decision about bringing Fiber to your city, we may do some exploratory work and recruiting so that we’re ready to start construction and operations quickly. We still plan to announce which cities will get Google Fiber by the end of the year.
Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, Google Fiber expansion team
Monday, April 14, 2014
When I talk to seniors — folks who are 65 or older — about the Internet, I get a mix of reactions. Some of them regularly rely on email, video chats and the web to stay in touch with family and find information. But most seniors I meet have rarely, if ever, used computers or the Internet before.
So last year, when several local companies created the Kansas City Digital Inclusion Fund, the first-ever pool of money available here for nonprofits who want to close the digital divide, it gave me an idea. Of the people in Kansas City that don’t use the Internet at all, 44% are seniors — there’s a real need there. And on the other hand, 93% of teens use the Internet regularly — which presents a real opportunity. What if we could close a technological and generational gap at the same time?
I pitched the idea of a cross-generational digital literacy training program to the colleagues and students I work with at my nonprofit, Arts Tech. My colleagues were excited by the idea; after all, it fits right in with our mission to help urban teens develop technical skills. But I was really blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm our teens showed. Dozens of them said they’d want to participate in a program like this.
So we applied for, and received, a Digital Inclusion Fund grant — and today, 19 students from Hogan Academy are training to become intergenerational digital literacy experts. After students graduate from this program, they’ll be paired up with local seniors, to help them learn about the web in 1:1 or group training sessions.
This isn’t a walk in the park for these teens; we’ve pulled together a pretty rigorous 60-hour training program. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday mornings, students join us to learn about computer hardware, in-home networking, the Internet and computer software. They’re also learning how to work with seniors, and how to develop their very own digital literacy curriculum (like planning classes on how to create email addresses, and how to use social networks to connect with friends) that they’ll be able to teach by the end of the program.
My ultimate hope for this project is that its spirit of intergenerational learning spreads beyond our lab of laptops. Already, I’ve seen students, seniors and local partners pitch in to make this program happen. We all have a role to play, and working together I really believe that we can build a more digitally-inclusive community in which students, seniors and more are available to continually learn from each other.
Posted by Dave Sullivan, Executive Director, Arts Tech