Category Archives: Google Fiber

The latest news from the Google Fiber team

Bringing a veteran’s perspective to Google Fiber

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi McNair and I’m new to Google Fiber’s communications team. I’m posting in honor of Veterans Day not only because I’m now a seasoned, two-week veteran of Fiber, but also because I’m an actual veteran of the U.S. Army.


Here’s a snapshot of the exact moment I knew I wanted to join the military:


To clarify: I’m the one on the right



I’m kidding of course. At that time, I’m pretty sure I was only drawn to the military for the super cool outfit I convinced my mom to buy me so I could look just like my older brother in his Marine Corps uniform. Later, growing up on a military base, I witnessed firsthand the admirable traits military service members exhibited — loyalty, respect, dedication to duty, ambition and willingness to help — and I knew I wanted to be a part of that community.


Four years as an Army human resources officer exposed me to a variety of experiences, most of which helped develop vital leadership, communication and problem solving skills for a future career. And I’ve learned that while military jargon doesn’t easily translate in the civilian world, the majority of the skills honed while serving, do.


Fellow Army vet Dan Barrow learned that his leadership experience in the infantry and Special Forces formed a solid foundation for him to transition into leading network deployment operations (aka building the network) for Google Fiber in San Antonio.


In 2014, Dan attended a career fair in Fort Hood, Texas, where he provided a recruiter with his resume that eventually made its way to Teresa Erb, Google Fiber Kansas City’s program management lead, and an Army veteran herself. Dan and Teresa met in person a month later during a veterans event hosted in our Fiber Space in Austin. Impressed with his background, she interviewed him the next day and the rest is history!


Dan and Teresa in Austin’s Fiber Space



Teresa, a graduate of West Point who spent three years on active duty and five years in the reserves as a logistics officer, highlights the special type of work ethic veterans bring to an organization.


“Veterans are used to hard work, have a strong sense of duty and responsibility, work well with everyone, and have an innate ability to just get things done,” Teresa says. “Grit is the word that comes to mind when I think of a military veteran.“


Similar to Dan, Darian Nastvogel found that much of what he learned from eight years as an Air Force civil engineering officer remained crucial as he transitioned into being a program manager for Fiber based in Kansas City.


“The leadership training I got as an officer helped me tremendously in being an effective communicator and problem solver,” he shares. “Whether it’s in a military environment or not, ensuring a person receives the intent of the message is key.”

Darian during his early Air Force days



Darian recently took over leading Google Fiber’s employee resource group FiberVets, which aims to provide fellowship and support to military veterans, service members and their families, while also advocating for the value of the veteran community within Fiber. The group, which currently has about 40 members, also performs outreach to local veteran communities in our Google Fiber cities.


“We’re continuing to build our identity and a sense of community,” Darian says. “The group allows us to connect with one another and discuss how to handle the transition and differences between military and civilian life.”


It was a privilege to serve in the military. I’m also grateful that my career path has now brought me to Google Fiber, joining my many veteran colleagues who bring the lessons they learned — determination, motivation, grit — to work every day on behalf of our customers and our communities.


To all who have served and continue to serve — thank you.

Posted by Kristi McNair, Internal Communications Manager

Connecting to our past and ourselves through reading

We’re excited to have author Varian Johnson (The Parker Inheritance) guest blogging today. We’ll be hosting Mr. Johnson in our Austin Fiber Space on October 20th, and live streaming the event to Fiber Spaces around the country. You can find more information about those events at the links at the bottom of this post. Google Fiber believes in the power of books to connect us to new ideas and places, and we’re honored to help the next generation of readers find new ways to dive into books.

I’m author Varian Johnson. When I first began writing The Parker Inheritance, I thought I was writing a simple, fun puzzle mystery—a novel where a reader could follow along and solve the mystery along with the characters in the book. I am a huge fan of The Westing Game, the award-winning masterpiece by Ellen Raskin, and I especially loved how Raskin put all the clues into the book—right there near the beginning—so I could get in on the action and use my amateur sleuthing skills alongside Turtle, Theo, Chris, Doug and the other characters. However, as I re-read the novel, I realized that The Westing Game was so much more than a simple puzzle mystery. The book was filled with dynamic characters who grew and changed—characters trying to figure out who they were and who they wanted to be. The Westing Game was more than a simple puzzle mystery. Could my book carry that same weight?

That’s when I went back to another novel idea that had been sitting on my hard drive for a while. It was a multi-generational story about a black family and how they were shaped over time—from the 1950s to today. It explored the impacts of racism and how people saw African Americans through an unfair and biased lens. It also explored how people of color in this country were often forced to give up or hide their true selves in order to be successful, safe, and free.

At first glance, the two novel ideas didn’t fit together at all. But similar to a real puzzle, as I began to rotate, shift, and flip the different pieces of each storyline, a new, better image took shape. I was creating a mystery that was fun and exciting, while also creating a drama that asked us to explore this country’s legacy of institutional racism and its effect on young, black people. 

The writing took a lot longer than I’d originally planned, but once all the pieces fell into place, I had the story I was looking for. I’m so proud of The Parker Inheritance—how it encourages us to think and ask questions. But I’m also just as proud of how fun it is—how readers are allowed to lose themselves in mystery. I hope you check out the novel for yourself—whether for the drama or the mystery. And if I’m lucky—maybe you’ll end up liking it for both.

For information on joining us at one of the events in your town, check out the links below:
Posted by Varian Johnson, Author, The Parker Inheritance.





FCC Supports OTMR – Faster and Fairer Rules for Pole Attachments



When we started Google Fiber eight years ago, we knew that building a new fiber network was going to be hard, slow and expensive. But what we didn’t fully appreciate were the obstacles we would face around a key part of the process: gaining timely access to space on utility and telephone poles to place new communications equipment.




One particular challenge revolves around making poles ready for new attachments. This “make ready” work has to be done to make room for new attachers’ equipment. The current system for make ready is done sequentially, and often involves multiple crews visiting the same pole several times over many months. This results in long delays, inflated costs and a frustrated community.




Fortunately, there is a better way. It is called One Touch Make Ready (OTMR), which is a system where a new attacher does much of the make ready work itself, all at one time. OTMR is a common sense policy that will dramatically improve the ability of new broadband providers to enter the market and offer competitive service, reducing delays and lowering costs by allowing the necessary work on utility poles to be done much more efficiently. This also means fewer crews coming through neighborhoods and disrupting traffic, making it safer for both workers and residents.




That’s why we’re so excited by the news that the FCC is poised to pass a rule that would institute a national One Touch Make Ready system, with the goal of significantly increasing the deployment of high-speed broadband across the United States. As the FCC stated, “OTMR speeds and reduces the cost of broadband deployment by allowing the party with the strongest incentive — the new attacher — to prepare the pole quickly to perform all of the work itself, rather than spreading the work across multiple parties.”




We fully support this effort by the FCC and applaud the efforts of Chairman Pai to remove obstacles that reduce choice and competition for broadband consumers. As the FCC says in its order, One Touch Make Ready “will serve the public interest through greater broadband deployment and competitive entry” — we couldn’t agree more.




By John Burchett, Director of Public Policy

Guest Blog: Averie Phimmarah – Daddy Daughter Code-In Expert

The goal of the Google Fiber Blog is to keep you updated on what’s happening and give you a look at how our customers are using Google Fiber.  From time to time, we ask our partners to tell us in their words what connection means to them.  Today, we’re excited to host Averie Phimmarah from Charlotte to tell us more about Digi-Bridge’s Daddy Daughter Code In and her experience there. 

My name is Averie Phimmarah. I’m in the 4th grade and I love my family! I have one older sister and one older brother. The Daddy Daughter Code-In on June 2nd will be the 4th Code-In I’ve been in with Digi-Bridge and Google Fiber. 

I don’t always get to spend a lot of time with my Dad so the Code-Ins are a great way for me and my sister to have him all to ourselves. I love when he helps us work through the Code-In activities. I feel like an engineer working through each challenge. My favorite Code-In activity was taking vinegar, food coloring and baking soda to make bubble bombs! Every Code-In has different activities and the parts that are the most fun are getting to try new things with my Dad’s help and the cotton candy. Even if I don’t get the activity to work like I want it to, it is still fun because I am with my family and friends. 

When I grow up I want to work on electronics and be a construction worker. I go to the Code-Ins because I get to practice those things now. I think all girls should go to the Daddy Daughter Code-In so they can feel what it’s like to be an engineer and problem solver AND you get all the cotton candy you can eat.

If you want to sign up for the June 2nd Daddy Daughter Code-In at our Uptown Charlotte Fiber Space, please sign up here. If you are interested in similar programming, check out CS First, Made with Code, or Be Internet Awesome. 


Posted by Averie Phimmarah, Charlotte, NC, 4th grader

Digital Inclusion Week 2018 Wrap-Up

This year we kicked off Digital Inclusion Week by publishing our 2017 Community Impact Report but that was just the beginning of Google Fiber’s involvement in this national initiative. Across the country, each of our Fiber cities found ways to support digital literacy trainings and connect more people to super fast Internet.

Seeing the rich stories of communities coming together to work on digital equity during Digital Inclusion Week, and the large scale of participants across the country, gives me great optimism about the future of our work and a bit of personal pride. In 2016, when I was working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow -- a program co-founded and supported by Google Fiber and managed by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) -- I worked alongside local and national partners like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to organize the country’s first Digital Inclusion Day. Now, just a couple of years later, I’m a Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber and the day has grown into a full week of activities across dozens of U.S. cities.

Working with local partners, my fellow Google Fiber Community Impact Managers and I have taken action to mark #DIW2018 across the country:
Check out the photo gallery below of many of these activities. Thank you to all our partners who help us connect our communities!
Cutting the ribbon on our newest Community Connection at Love City in Louisville with Mayor Greg Fischer.
Charlotte, NC Mayor Vi Lyles helps residents at our new Community Connection at The Nest.

Tackling digital inclusion with UpgradeSA in San Antonio.

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi takes a selfie with seniors after a YouTube tutorial at the Provo Rec Center.

Posted by Daniel Lucio, Community Impact Manager - Austin

Digital Inclusion Week 2018 Wrap-Up

This year we kicked off Digital Inclusion Week by publishing our 2017 Community Impact Report but that was just the beginning of Google Fiber’s involvement in this national initiative. Across the country, each of our Fiber cities found ways to support digital literacy trainings and connect more people to super fast Internet.

Seeing the rich stories of communities coming together to work on digital equity during Digital Inclusion Week, and the large scale of participants across the country, gives me great optimism about the future of our work and a bit of personal pride. In 2016, when I was working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow -- a program co-founded and supported by Google Fiber and managed by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) -- I worked alongside local and national partners like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance to organize the country’s first Digital Inclusion Day. Now, just a couple of years later, I’m a Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber and the day has grown into a full week of activities across dozens of U.S. cities.

Working with local partners, my fellow Google Fiber Community Impact Managers and I have taken action to mark #DIW2018 across the country:
Check out the photo gallery below of many of these activities. Thank you to all our partners who help us connect our communities!
Cutting the ribbon on our newest Community Connection at Love City in Louisville with Mayor Greg Fischer.
Charlotte, NC Mayor Vi Lyles helps residents at our new Community Connection at The Nest.

Tackling digital inclusion with UpgradeSA in San Antonio.

Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi takes a selfie with seniors after a YouTube tutorial at the Provo Rec Center.

Posted by Daniel Lucio, Community Impact Manager - Austin

Google Fiber’s 2017 Community Impact Report Kicks Off Digital Inclusion Week 2018



Today is the first day of Digital Inclusion Week 2018 -- a national week of events to increase awareness and action to ensure everyone has access to the information technology capacity needed for full participation in our society, democracy and economy -- sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance.




At Google Fiber, we are proud to support organizations and activities participating in #DIW2018 across the country. To kick off this important week, we are thrilled to share our 2017 Community Impact Report.




Each year, we are humbled by the groundbreaking work of our community partners across the country, and 2017 was no exception. These partners roll up their sleeves, undaunted by challenges, and improve their neighbors’ access to opportunities. They find creative ways to advance digital inclusion. They hustle to empower more students with STEM programs. They ignite innovation and entrepreneurship -- especially in under-resourced schools and neighborhoods. In short, they make their cities a better place.




We are privileged to collaborate with them, and to bring our Faster, Fairer, Kinder Internet to support their efforts. As a result of our work together in 2017:


  • 2,600 families in affordable housing can access the power of Fiber Internet in their homes at no cost via our Gigabit Communities program -- 600 new families’ homes were connected in 2017 alone.
  • Through our Community Connections program, we provided super fast Internet to 54 new public hubs like libraries and nonprofits. 
  • 5,000 students and parents engaged in our STEM programs last year, reaching new horizons through Made with Code, Create Your World, and Google Expeditions.



Check out the full report to for more details about this work and to read stories from each our Fiber cities. Let’s make the most of this week and every week to get more people connected for the good of our communities.



Posted by Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Community Impact Strategy

And the Gold Award goes to . . .our customers!

Hey, did you hear Google Fiber won the Gold Stevie Award for Customer Service Department of the Year in Telecommunications for the second year in a row? We are pretty proud to be able to serve our customers, so you might have heard it if you stopped by a Fiber Space to ask a question, catch a movie or grab a cup of coffee.

Or perhaps one of our call center reps in Austin or Boise mentioned it to you or maybe your Google Fiber technician showed you this video of the ceremony while testing your Fiber connection.

Okay maybe not, but even if this is the first time you’re even learning about the existence of Stevie Awards for Customer Service, I hope that you have felt our passion to transform what’s expected of customer support in this industry.  

We love our customers and want to make them happy. So if you want to get in touch with us -- for any reason -- let us know!  We’ll keep working to get better -- because while Gold is the best Stevie you can receive, we know there is always room to improve.  

I’m the guy on the left - with my teammates.

Posted by Nodas Papadimitriou, Customer Happiness Program Manager

Black History Month at Google Fiber – An Overview and Look Back

Wednesday marked the end of Black History Month - and what a month it was! Google Fiber is proud to have celebrated with community partners across our Fiber cities.  We hosted over two dozen events across the country that focused on encouraging meaningful conversations, celebrating accomplishments, and giving participants an opportunity to have interactive experiences with historic places like Selma, Alabama.

Highlights:

Huntsville
Google Fiber sponsored the inaugural Because of Them, We Can event celebrating the accomplishments of African Americans from Alabama, including Angela Davis, Carl Lewis, and Condoleezza Rice” -- all Alabamians -- as well as others. It was an afternoon of music, spoken word, and powerful discussions.

Salt Lake City
Our team took Google Expeditions Cardboard VR (virtual reality) technology to students at Newman Elementary, one of our valued Title One school partners. We used the time to demonstrate how infrastructure to deliver superfast Internet is built to homes and how it helps lead to innovations like VR. We led students through a Google Expedition of Civil Rights history, where they learned about key leaders and landmarks. Their VR journey included a visit to the Lincoln Monument steps where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech; to the Supreme Court steps where the students learned about Thurgood Marshall and the Brown v. Board of Education decision; and then concluded with a visit to the Selma-to-Montgomery March museum.



Nashville
Building on the success of Marvel’s Black Panther, “afrofuturism” was the theme of the Fiber Space as Nashvillians came together for a panel discussion to define “afrofuturism,” media representation of African Americans, and what it means to be a “Black Geek.” Check out Nashville Public Radio’s coverage at: How a Black Superhero Inspired Conversations about Race and Technology in Nashville.

Austin
Google Fiber celebrated with the Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library where over 200 members of the community gathered and utilized Google Cardboard virtual reality technology to experience and learn about significant contributions of African Americans throughout history, such as the Artifacts of the Tuskegee Airmen exhibit.

Atlanta
Over 50 students from Dillard University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Xavier College came to the Google office in Atlanta for a Hackathon. The students enjoyed food and fun while they created projects in a 24-hour timespan with the help of their peers and Google engineers.  The projects spanned from fun to serious, with apps to help make reporting crimes on campus easier, interactive campus maps, and to help students find computer science tutors!

While Google Fiber’s work to advance technology access and inclusion happens year-round, we take pride in the community and school partnerships that came together during February to celebrate Black History Month. We look forward to even more opportunities for learning and growth in 2018.

Posted by Daynise Joseph, Community Impact Manager

The Spirit of Curling

What do curling and Google Fiber have in common? Well for starters, in curling the objective is to deliver rocks into the house, much like we deliver fiber to the home. Also the sport is growing fast - fast like a gig of Internet, and it’s gaining fans all over the country.

Honestly, we just wanted an excuse to write a post about curling - because like Mr T’s tweets say, #curlingiscoolfool. And at Google Fiber, we’ve got some cred with two curlers on staff. Plus we know there are just so many questions about this sport:

- What’s up with the crazy pants?
- Why are they screaming so much?
- What does the sweeping do?

Curling doesn’t have the dazzling stunts and crazy thrills of other Olympic sports, but it is mesmerizing. It’s not about brute force or strength; it’s finesse and strategy, it’s chess on ice. Part of what makes it mesmerizing is how you can sit there watching it on TV and think … I can do that. It’s accessibility makes it all the more intriguing - anyone can curl.

The best part of the sport, though, is the part you don’t see on TV. It is the spirit of curling that embodies inclusion and sportsmanship. Any given night at the curling club, you’ll see a diverse group of folks all curling together as a giant curling family. It ranges from fresh college grads to retirees; curlers in wheelchairs to curlers that nimbly glide all the way across the ice; folks from all different walks of life.

A few helpful terms for you:

- House - where you have to throw your rock (the "target")
- Hog Line - the line on the rink you have to get your rock past to "count"
- Skip - the boss of the team (the one that stands in the house and points the broom)

The inclusion is impressive and it truly brings people who would otherwise maybe never cross paths together as a community -- and making connections is what Google Fiber is all about.  After each game, teams sit together and “broomstack” over beer. It’s the only sport we can think of where it’s custom for the winners to buy the losing team a round of drinks.  And that’s something we can get behind -- we love a team sport where good sportsmanship is front and center.  

Posted by Diana Wu, Project Manager, and Martha Ivester, Nashville City Manager -- Google Fiber’s resident curling experts
Diana Wu (Network Deployment & Operations, Project Manager in Charlotte) started curling in 2013 and is an active member of the Charlotte Curling Club in North Carolina

Martha Ivester (Center) on her high school curling team in London, Ontario; note the adoption of advanced technology in her push broom.