But for now, the waiting game continues. The Austin City Council agreed at its Nov. 21 meeting to postpone a final decision on which of their public facilities would be included within Google’s 100-facility limit. The decision, the council said, was to allow time for further analysis of potential sites and community needs.
According to the meeting transcript, council member Laura Morrison said the city received roughly 300 applications from public institutions hoping to use the network that would increase Internet speeds by 100 times, on average.
By the middle of 2014, the selected facilities will have free access to the fiber network's gigabit speeds, a deal Google is offering for 10 years. Residents, however, will have to wait a little longer as Google establishes which neighborhoods will get online, based on registered interest. Resident use is expected to start in the latter half of 2014.
“Austin is a big city,” wrote Google on its Austin website. “We’ll start working immediately — but, since we need to build an entirely new infrastructure here, we have a lot of planning and engineering work to do before we can start connecting homes.”
Morrison said the list of the proposed sites adheres to four categories of facilities the city council decided upon: arts and culture, education and workforce, public facilities and social services.
While the list is still in draft form, 23 spots have been allocated to date for libraries, 13 locations are dedicated to the Austin Independent School District and three to colleges -- Concordia University Texas, Huston-Tillotson University and St. Edward’s University.
Austin was a prime contender in the 2010 competition to be Google’s inaugural gigabit city. According to Google's website, while Kansas City was initially chosen, Austin represented a global mecca for “creative and entrepreneurial people,” attributes that led the company to choose it as its second gigabit city.
Google intends to offer Austin residents HD television streaming as well as high-speed internet. In Kansas City, Google is currently charging $70 per month for its 1,000 Mbps high-speed Internet and $120 per month for a package of HD television and high-speed Internet. Standard Internet is offered free of charge to Kansas City residents who paid a $300 one-time construction/set-up fee.