Google Fiber Expands Broadband Pledge In Austin

To Offer Free ‘Basic’ Service For 10 Years To Area Public Housing
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As part of its commitment to the city of Austin, Google Fiber said it will provide free “basic” Internet service (5 Mbps down by 1 Mbps up) for free to area public housing for ten years after construction begins.

The caveat is that access will be limited to fiberhoods that meet their signup goal to get Google Fiber services. But those who qualify for service will also have the option to pay for Google Fiber’s 1-Gig service at any time, Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, community impact manager for Google Fiber Austin, noted in this blog post.

“In addition, we’re providing computers to HACA education and training centers, as well as funding Austin Free-Net, a local nonprofit, to provide digital literacy training in HACA properties,” Fatehi-Weeks added

Google Fiber construction is underway in Austin, with plans to open up the sign-up process in December. Google Fiber also offers its basic tier for free in Kansas City and Provo, Utah, though customers must spring for a $300 construction fee (paid all at once, or $25 per month for 12 months).

Google Fiber made the commitment in tandem with the Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA), which just launched Unlocking the Connection, an initiative that aims to “close the digital divide” for the 4,300 people in the area who reside in 18 HACA developments throughout Austin.  Premiere funding partners for the program are the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, alongside local sponsors IBM, 3M, Rackspace, Freescale and Austin Community College.