Category Archives: Google Fiber

The latest news from the Google Fiber team

Access’ Next Steps with Citizens Broadband Radio Service

If you’ve ever tried to make a call in a hotel or at a conference, only to realize there is no connectivity, or it is too slow to use, you understand the importance of having high capacity wireless networks. We have been working with operators and hardware manufacturers towards a radically new spectrum sharing technique to make bandwidth readily abundant and accessible in the U.S.

The shared spectrum approach is being applied to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band (3.55GHz-3.7GHz). CBRS will allow large venues such as enterprises, concert halls, sports arenas, theme parks, shopping malls — and yes even hotels and conference centers — to easily deploy private, wireless LTE networks without spending billions to lease spectrum. This will enable more innovation in wireless applications and products going forward.


There are three requirements for the CBRS band to be ready for prime time: (1) a Spectrum Access System (SAS), as mandated by the FCC to manage spectrum sharing; (2) a robust hardware ecosystem; and (3) the deployment of wireless networks. Today, we’ve hit major milestones in the first two requirements: we’ve completed an end-to-end test of consumer devices connecting to CBRS base stations, and formed a trusted tester program to ensure interoperability between CBRS base stations and the Access SAS.

The availability of CBRS consumer devices isn’t so far off. In fact, we’ve demonstrated two device firsts in the band by showing end-to-end operation of phones using Qualcomm (Snapdragon X20 Gigabit LTE modem) and Spreadtrum SOC chipsets, as well as MiFi devices from Juni/Infomark. This is a major milestone for the CBRS band. While it will take time for CBRS phones to be pervasive in the market, MiFi devices provide an excellent bridge in the near term.

On the network hardware side of things, we are introducing the Trusted Tester Citizens Broadband Radio Service Device (CBSD) Program. Trusted testers can now sign up to run a series of self-service tests to ensure their base station equipment works with the Access SAS. The Access SAS communicates to these radios and provisions spectrum in the band in accordance with FCC regulations, and ultimately makes sure that the spectrum gets used fairly and efficiently. Our first batch of successful pre-testers include Nokia, Juni, ZTE, Sercomm, Ericsson, and Ruckus Wireless, representing a diverse group of manufacturers, with experience spanning from small cells to macro cells, as well as indoor and outdoor use cases. SAS certification is expected to happen this year, so we are building the foundation for  a functioning and collaborative environment now.

We’ll continue to work with industry leaders and new participants to realize the promise of shared spectrum, which we believe is the key to abundant and low cost wireless. The industry is ready for private LTE deployments, and this year has set the foundation for this, and future innovation.

See you at Mobile World Congress!


Webpass goes Mile High with the last mile

Webpass is adding a new pin to the map today: Denver. The company has identified its first apartment community to receive Webpass service. Residents across the Mile-High City, whose buildings are wired with Ethernet, will be able to contact Webpass and sign up for superfast Internet service — up to a gigabit per second!

To lead and grow our local business, we have hired General Manager, Roger Fitch. Roger has worked in telecom and Internet for nearly 30 years and brings plenty of local expertise to our new home office in Denver.

Webpass Denver launch team




Webpass is currently building out its local data center stack that will allow installation of point-to-point wireless radios to provide service to customers.

We can’t wait for Denverites to experience the difference of Webpass Internet — from a fast and seamless install experience, to high-touch, dedicated customer support. With Webpass, customers are connected with superfast speeds of up to a gigabit, perfect for cutting the cord or running your small business.

Customers can learn more about our service here, or contact 1-800-WEBPASS.

Google Fiber arrives in Raleigh: announcing customer signups and our new Fiber Space

Just five months after launching in Morrisville, today Google Fiber is accepting sign-ups for residents and businesses in the North Hills, midtown area of Raleigh. Those who sign up will have the opportunity to join the many Morrisville residents now using Google Fiber. If you live in the broader Triangle, check your address and be among the first to know where we go next, at fiber.google.com/triangle.
Google Fiber installation van, Raleigh skyline. Van art by Adam Dixon; photographed by Stephen Sugg

We’re also happy to announce the grand opening of our brand new Raleigh Fiber Space, in the historic 518 West Jones building in Glenwood South. Come step inside and take Google Fiber’s superfast Gigabit Internet and TV for a spin. Our first community event takes place this week during Raleigh First Friday. In celebration of our local artist community and to kick off Black History Month, we are unveiling the latest addition to Raleigh’s mural scene, created by Victor Knight, III, as well as some of his other works. Providing beats for the evening will be local legend, 9th Wonder. We hope you can join us!
Grand opening of the Google Fiber Space in Raleigh. Photographed by Aaron Lindberg

Finally, we’re continuing our work in the community to help those most impacted by the digital divide. We’re thrilled to share today that we’re preparing to serve our first Gigabit Communities property at The Oaks in the coming months. Gigabit Communities is a Google Fiber program that brings free gigabit Internet to residents in select public and low-income housing properties. We know that digital literacy is an important component of any inclusion program, so we’ve been working closely with nonprofits across the Triangle, including Code the Dream, The Forge Institute and ThinkHouse, and to support digital inclusion fellows at the Kramden Institute and the Triangle Literacy Council.

Raleigh residents in North Hills, midtown will be able to sign up for one of the following plans:


Eligible small businesses can sign up for one of three business offerings.

Our teams remain hard at work building one of the largest infrastructure projects in Triangle history and we can’t wait for even more customers in the Triangle to give Fiber a try. You can track our construction progress on our website: fiber.google.com/triangle. And if you live in an apartment building, while you’re there you can check out our Apartment Finder to see if your building is on track to get Fiber soon.

Happy surfing!




More places to grab gigabit, with Webpass

When you go to the Google Fiber map today, you will notice it has a new hue: Webpass green.

Since we announced that Webpass is part of the Google Fiber family last year, we’ve been working together in the cities both Webpass and Google Fiber share: Chicago, San Diego and San Francisco. Webpass has been offering superfast Internet service — up to a gigabit per second — in these cities for some time, and has the full support of Google Fiber to continue doing so going forward.

Customers in six metro areas — now marked by a green pin — may be eligible to use Webpass if their building has at least 10 units, and is wired with Ethernet cabling. Copper Ethernet wiring can allow for blazing gigabit speeds, making them an affordable alternative for building owners to install vs. coaxial cable or even fiber. Check with your landlord or property manager to see if you’re eligible to get up and surf with Webpass today.


 

Introducing the updated Fiber TV App


With so much great entertainment to watch this winter, we don’t want you to miss a thing. Which is why we’ve updated the Fiber TV App to help you find and enjoy all the entertainment you love.


The Fiber TV App already lets you watch some of your favorite TV channels live or On Demand. Plus you can use it to control your TV from your mobile device. With today’s update you can now play and record your favorite TV shows, sports, and movies with one tap. Here’s more of what you can do with the updated Fiber TV App.



  1. Catch up on your favorite shows. You’ll now find the next episodes from your favorite shows waiting for you as soon as you open the Fiber TV app. With one tap you can begin watching.
  2. Don’t miss the game. See what sports are happening right now, or are scheduled for later, then record them to your DVR with one tap. And you can set up your recordings no matter where you are, even when you’re out with friends.
  3. Find recommendations for what to watch. View personalized recommendations for live TV. That means you’ll know to check out that Fresh Prince of Bel Air marathon or a new show you might enjoy, like Designated Survivor.
  4. Get to your recordings quickly. The app now recommends recordings on your DVR to watch next as soon as you open it, so you can save time getting to the entertainment you love. 


We hope today’s updates make it easier than ever to find, record, and watch all the entertainment you love. The Fiber TV App will be updated for all our TV subscribers in the coming weeks. You can download the app from the Play Store for Android, or App store for iPhones and iPads.

Posted by Jared Nusinoff, Product Manager, Google Fiber

Advancing our amazing bet

Five years after announcing we’d bring Google Fiber to Kansas City, our vision remains: to connect more people to superfast and abundant Internet. At that time, Gigabit residential speeds were unheard of, built-from-the-ground-up Fiberhood designs and builds were as yet unproven, and a great customer experience simply didn’t exist. Since then, we have reshaped the landscape — these innovations are becoming more commonplace (which we all can agree is great for everyone, particularly for consumers!).


And thanks to the hard work of everyone on the Access team, our business is solid: our subscriber base and revenue are growing quickly, and we expect that growth to continue. I am extremely proud of what we’ve built together in five short years.



Now, just as any competitive business must, we have to continue not only to grow, but also stay ahead of the curve — pushing the boundaries of technology, business, and policy — to remain a leader in delivering superfast Internet. We have refined our plan going forward to achieve these objectives. It entails us making changes to focus our business and product strategy. Importantly, the plan enhances our focus on new technology and deployment methods to make superfast Internet more abundant than it is today.



These changes to our business and technology will have some immediate implications. Some of our efforts will remain unchanged, but others will be impacted. In terms of our existing footprint, in the cities where we’ve launched or are under construction, our work will continue. For most of our “potential Fiber cities” — those where we’ve been in exploratory discussions — we’re going to pause our operations and offices while we refine our approaches. We’re ever grateful to these cities for their ongoing partnership and patience, and we’re confident we’ll have an opportunity to resume our partnership discussions once we’ve advanced our technologies and solutions. In this handful of cities that are still in an exploratory stage, and in certain related areas of our supporting operations, we’ll be reducing our employee base.



As for me personally, it’s been quite a journey over the past few years, taking a broad-based set of projects and initiatives and growing a focused business that is on a strong trajectory. And I’ve decided this is the right juncture to step aside from my CEO role. Larry has asked me to continue as an advisor, so I’ll still be around.



I am humbled by our growth and progress across Access today, and I’m so grateful to have been part of such an extraordinary bet. And as we continue this bet, I remain confident that the future will hold a much more connected society and abundant access for all. Let’s keep doing our part to make it so!



Welcome, Webpass to the Google Fiber family!

Back in June Google Fiber entered into an agreement to acquire Webpass. Today we’re happy to announce that we’ve closed the transaction for Webpass, Inc., which is now officially part of the Google Fiber family. (We should mention that a smaller affiliate, Webpass Telecommunications, LLC, is expected to close later this year, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.)


Webpass set out to change the landscape for Internet providers back in 2003. Their mission today is the same: deliver a simple, high quality Internet connection to as many people as possible. At Google Fiber we share that same goal, and together we can grow faster — and reach more people— than ever before.


It’s been impressive to watch Webpass evolve from a boot-strapped startup to an established category leader with tens of thousands of happy customers in five major metros from San Francisco to Boston.
Current Webpass markets in the U.S.
This growth is due to their fast, reliable Internet service, available at an affordable price with no hidden fees, no contracts and an install experience that puts the customer first. In fact, Webpass customers have been known to choose the building they live in based on Webpass’ service map. Providing an excellent customer service experience is another philosophy we share with Webpass.


In addition, Webpass is known for their successful track record lighting up new buildings with super fast Internet service very quickly — sometimes within a month or less once building access agreements are in place. This speed of deployment is possible in part because Webpass manages its own network, which also has the benefit of higher service availability, automatic upgrades for service that gets better over time, and bandwidths of up to 1 gigabit per second.


Of course, at Google Fiber we’re particularly excited about Webpass’ application of point-to-point wireless deployment methodology. As we’ve said, our strategy going forward will be a hybrid approach with wireless playing an integral part. Webpass has proven that point-to-point wireless is a reliable way to connect more people to high-speed Internet in a densely populated environment, by setting up wireless transmission links between buildings. Residents simply plug their device or router into the data jack Webpass installs in their unit, and they’re good to go, browsing with speeds reaching up to a Gig.


Going forward, Webpass will continue to grow and scale their business with point-to-point wireless technology, including expanding into new cities. And for our part, Google Fiber will continue to build out our portfolio of wireless and fiber technologies, to bring super fast Internet to more people, faster. In the meantime, there will be no changes for current Webpass or Google Fiber customers, who will continue to get the same great services they love. 



We’re so excited to be working with the Webpass team, who have truly been pioneers in providing super fast, super simple Internet to people who demand choice. Together, the combination of Google Fiber technology with Webpass’ great team and operations will result in more choice and better access for many more people.

A new look and feel for Fiber TV


TV’s never been better. With so much great entertainment to choose from, it’s more important than ever to quickly find, record, and watch the shows and movies you love. That’s why we’re introducing the biggest update to Fiber TV since we launched in 2012. 
Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 8.35.08 AM.png
A new look and feel

It can be tough to find the shows and movies you love—or discover new ones. So we redesigned Fiber TV’s interface to make it easier to recognize the shows you’re looking for. We added helpful information like Rotten Tomatoes ratings to the program description. And we reorganized the DVR to make it easier to navigate your recordings.
Screen Shot 2016-09-14 at 8.35.18 AM.png

Recommendations & Smart Search

Fiber TV is also introducing personalized recommendations for movies and TV shows you might like. So if you regularly watch The Walking Dead on AMC, it might suggest a show you haven’t seen, like American Horror Story on FX. And with improved Smart Search, you can quickly find what you love on TV and On Demand. Search by title, keyword, or even an actor’s name or sports team.

The TV you love. On Fiber.

We’re always looking for new ways to make Fiber TV even better. Earlier this year Google Cast™ was added to Fiber TV, for one touch casting from your phone, tablet or laptop, and there’s still so much more to come. We hope today’s updates make it easier than ever to find, record, and watch all the entertainment you love.

If you’re a Fiber TV subscriber, you don’t have to do a thing. New customers will get the new Fiber TV as soon as they’re installed. Current customers will automatically get access in the coming weeks.

Posted by Lawrence Kim, Product Manager, Google Fiber

To Nashville, with love

Since we launched Google Fiber in Nashville a few months back, we have been humbled by the overwhelming support from local residents, businesses and property owners. We have also been hearing loud and clear that consumers want a choice when it comes to super-fast Internet. 


Today Americans have little, if any, choice. The most recent Federal Communications Commission stats show 78% of census blocks have access to only one Internet provider offering speeds of 25 Mbps or more — the minimum speed to be considered “broadband”— while 30% have no broadband access. 


So what’s taking so long in Nashville? We have — like many of you — been disheartened by the incredibly slow progress. A big contributor to these delays is the “make ready” process required to attach a new line to a utility pole. Under this current system, each existing provider on the pole needs to send out a separate crew, one by one, to move its own line and make room for a new one. This may have worked a generation ago when there were only one or two attachers, but it’s extremely time consuming — not to mention disruptive to residents of Nashville — to do this with the numerous attachers we have today.


Of the 88,000 poles we need to attach Google Fiber to throughout Nashville, over 44,000 will require make ready work. But so far, only 33 poles have been made ready.
Statistics for “make ready” for Google Fiber in Nashville
We are all seeing the consequences of this old policy: significant delays getting the super-fast Internet you want, from the provider you want. This isn’t just about Google Fiber, but a major hindrance to future innovation for anyone looking to build a new network.


We want to go faster and we know you do, too. The One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ordinance now being debated by Nashville Metro Council will reduce delay and disruption by allowing the necessary work to be done much more efficiently — in as little as a single visit. This means fewer crews coming through neighborhoods and disrupting traffic, making it safer for workers and residents. The work would be done by a crew the pole owner has approved, instead of multiple crews from different companies working on the same pole over several months. 


Once we are on the poles, we will be subject to the same rules as anyone else. That this policy provides an equal playing field for innovation is why experts, groups representing communities, and other fiber builders support OTMR, too. However, some existing providers disagree, and would prefer to keep the current system.


There’s a critical vote scheduled at the Nashville Metro Council on Tuesday, September 6. Since OTMR was first put forward by Council Member Anthony Davis, we’ve worked closely with the Mayor’s office, Council and others to include amendments that we believe make OTMR ready to be enacted. Our sincere thanks to all these folks for their vision, hard work and focus on this ordinance. 


If you live in Nashville and you want more choice for super-fast Internet, please reach out to your local Council Member and tell them you support One Touch Make Ready. And attend next Tuesday’s crucial vote at the Metro Courthouse, starting at 6:30 p.m. CDT (arrive early to get a seat!) 


We can't wait to bring super-fast Internet to more people in Nashville, faster, and look forward to the outcome of September 6.


Posted by Chris Levendos, Director of National Deployment and Operations, Google Fiber



Digital Inclusion Fellowship: Year 1 Results & Toolkit

Guest post from Ruben Campillo, former Digital Inclusion Fellow, currently the Digital Inclusion Outreach & Community Engagement Manager, Knight School of Communication, Queens University of Charlotte.

The first time I went online was in the fall of 1995. A librarian at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library taught me to type website addresses into the browser. I was amazed by the infinite scope of information at my fingertips. That day I joined the burgeoning information revolution and the internet became part of my life as a student, professional and father. In all these roles I have witnessed the power of technology to improve people’s lives.

Unfortunately, many people aren’t able to benefit from transformational digital tools and skills. More than 60 million Americans don’t use the internet in the home. In my city, Charlotte, NC, 28% of residents don’t have internet access in the home. These families are put at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, completing homework and communicating with relatives. I wanted to help address this disparity, so I went back to where it all started for me -- the library.

I have spent the last year working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The fellowship is a program facilitated by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), in partnership with Google Fiber. This first-ever fellowship to address the digital divide embedded 16 community leaders into local organizations that are working to close the digital divide. Collectively, we helped our host organizations address barriers to widespread internet adoption, such as awareness of the internet’s importance, digital literacy and access to affordable devices.

I became a Digital Inclusion Fellow to help shape how our city embraces new technology, while ensuring that our entire community benefits. Thankfully, I was joined by others across the city who feel the same way. The library was one of the key members in developing the City of Charlotte’s first Digital Inclusion Task Force, along with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Goodwill Industries, the Knight School of Communication and Mecklenburg County. This group of dedicated individuals and organizations is continuing to meet the challenge of making Charlotte a more digitally inclusive city. 

The library, which has 20 branches and serves around 1.1 million people, has already been a steward for digital inclusion for two decades in Charlotte. I joined the library’s leadership team to scale programming, sustainably. We mapped internet adoption in Charlotte and focused our resources on the least connected communities.

We piloted classes in these digitally divided communities, teaching residents basic computing skills. The course we developed, DigitLit101, has several modules, including email and job searching. To support our 1:1 training format, we trained 71 library staffers and dozens of volunteers to become DigitLit101 instructors. We also partnered with community based organizations, such as the YMCA, to help them incorporate DigitLit101 into their programming and scale our impact. Overall, this course has served 183 students in seven library branches in both English and Spanish.

The other Fellows were busy in their cities as well. Collectively, we trained 550 people per month and reached an estimated 1 million people with awareness campaigns about the importance of the Internet.

You can read case studies from my city, Charlotte, as well as Nashville and Austin in the Digital Inclusion Toolkit that launched today. The toolkit highlights some of the successes and challenges Fellows and host organizations have encountered throughout the first year. Additionally, the toolkit includes best practices in volunteer recruitment, classroom logistics, digital literacy, and partnership development. It’s a great resource for organizations looking to join the digital inclusion movement.



I am passionate about social justice and I believe that access to reliable, affordable internet access at home can have a transformative effect in people's lives. Our first fellowship year was a success, but we have more work to do. Twenty-two new Fellows in 11 cities are taking up this challenge for the coming year. As they begin their work, I’m reminded that joining the information revolution can start with something as simple as teaching someone how to use a web browser at their local library.