Author Archives: Google Fiber

Google Fiber starts pulling fiber in West Des Moines

Today, we’re starting to place Google Fiber in the City of West Des Moines’s conduit network. Once we’ve completed the first segment, customers in some areas of the northeast corner of the city will be able to sign up for 1 Gig or 2 Gig internet service. 

If you are interested in getting updates on availability in your neighborhood, sign up on our website (and in the meantime, make sure your house is ready to go, sign up for your free connection to the conduit network at the city’s Plant the Speed website.)

We’re also very excited to be the presenting sponsor of the Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural Raccoon River Rally. We’re looking forward to meeting you there (and seeing your awesome cardboard boats!)

Posted by Sarah Sparks, West Des Moines Customer Acquisition Manager


author: Sarah Sparks

title: West Des Moines Customer Acquisition Manager

category: city_news

imagealign: top

Libraries Without Borders US takes San Antonio’s digital divide head-on

Google Fiber works with incredible partners across the country working to make digital equity a reality in our communities. Back in 2019, we shared the innovative work of Libraries Without Borders US (LWB US) in San Antonio, TX, and now we’re thrilled to welcome Victoria Becker, Communications and Engagement Associate, to provide an update on those efforts through the pandemic and beyond. LWB US is a non-profit organization that delivers access to information, education, and cultural resources. From parks in Baltimore to laundromats in San Antonio, LWB US designs innovative tools and programs that meet people where they are with the resources they need most. 

Libraries Without Borders US (LWB US) has been working to promote access to information in underserved communities across the country since 2015. Fundamental to our work is designing and implementing innovative programs that reimagine libraries, often by transforming nontraditional spaces into hubs for community learning and engagement. With this mission in mind, we took our work to the laundromat, prompting the birth of the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI).

Why laundromats? The average laundromat user has an income of $28,000; 1 in 4 individuals in this income bracket do not have access to broadband internet. By partnering with local libraries and organizations, LWB US brings not only books, computers, and internet connection directly to laundromats, but also digital skills trainings and curated resources that promote literacy, digital access, health education, legal information, and other issues. In doing this, LWB US could ensure that community members had easy access to critical resources, all while doing their weekly wash.

In March 2020, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we completely reimagined our work and shifted gears in response to swiftly growing needs. We designed and implemented the ConnectED Technology Kit program: an initiative to provide our constituents with a backpack equipped with a laptop, mobile hotspot, and a curated educational resource packet to be used at home. Last year, LWB US distributed over 120 kits to families in San Antonio outside Wash and Learn Initiative laundromats, including our newest WALI laundromat Laundry Rey’s.

We’re building on the work we did last year outside by bringing programming back inside. LWB US recently reinstalled the bookshelf at Laundry Rey’s, the first hint of WALI reinstall. With the support of Google Fiber, we are able to safely reimplement programming in our San Antonio WALI laundromats to continue to serve our community. Check out the video below see this incredible program up close and hear from our staff and stakeholders:


For more information about WALI or LWB in San Antonio, contact Lisa Alvarenga, our San Antonio Project Coordinator.

Posted by Victoria Becker, Communications and Engagement Associate, Libraries without Borders - US.


author: Victoria Becker

title: Communications and Engagement Associate, Libraries without Borders - US


category: community_impact

Growing our network in the Charlotte area

Next up in our city update series, we travel to Charlotte and see what’s happening with our Queen City team. 

Hello! It’s been a while since we’ve checked in from Charlotte, but we’ve been on the move across the metro area. In addition to offering our high-speed internet service in North & South Charlotte, and apartments and condos in Uptown, we’ve recently started serving Hidden Valley and we’re continuing to expand our network in various parts of the city.

We’ve also recently started expanding our network to some Charlotte adjacent communities. We’re excited that Concord announced last week that Google Fiber is coming soon, and construction efforts are also already underway in Matthews. We hope to serve our first customers in both these cities by the end of the year.

Helping our community connect

In Charlotte, we’ve always worked closely with our libraries to help more people get online. This year, we’ve taken that show on the road, collaborating with Project OutPour and Hope Vibes to equip their mobile hygiene units with Wi-Fi, through the coordination of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Foundation. The project will be launching its second location soon, allowing our local homeless population to do laundry, shower, and get online in one place. 

This year, we also joined select members of Tech Rising to launch the Tech Idea Incubator Fund, a micro-grants program intended to seed innovative ideas from nonprofit organizations that are committed to eliminating the digital divide and fostering digital inclusion and equity.

Google Fiber is proud to invest in Digital Charlotte’s Digital Navigator Program, dedicated to ensuring that everyone in Mecklenburg County can find and connect with digital inclusion resources. 

What’s next?

As you can see, we’ve got a lot going on in the Charlotte metro area. We are continuing to grow the Google Fiber team across all of our teams and cities. If you are interested in potentially joining our team, check out our job listings at

Posted by Spencer Walston, Head of Sales; Jason Smith, Tech Lead; & Jess George, Government & Community Affairs Manager.


author: Spencer Walston, Jason Smith, & Jess George

category: city_news

How to make your home WiFi network more secure

WiFi networks are the ubiquitous way that most of us connect to the Internet. Simpler than finding a wire to plug into our device (assuming our device can be plugged in at all), WiFi has been providing network services ever since 1997 (and the original model it was built on traces all the way back to ALOHAnet in Hawaii in 1971. For more about how WiFi came to be, check out this page). Despite this long history … or perhaps because WiFi is such a big, seamless part of our lives, we often overlook WiFi security, resulting in a variety of concerns ranging from the annoying to the potentially catastrophic.

Why do we care?

In almost every security presentation or document, there is a “scare the user” section … and this is that section. Here we’ll list all the horrible things that can happen if you don’t secure your WiFi network. They’re listed from just annoying to horrifying.

1. Piggybacking:

Simply put, someone else can use your home WiFi to access the internet. In most cases, this will merely increase the use of your network bandwidth (which, depending on your network provider, may impact your bill). But if they use your network connection to perform illegal activities, it can make your life very difficult. The last thing anyone wants is a knock on the door from the police due to illegal activity traced to your house. Or more likely receiving a copyright violation notice from your ISP or possibly having your service terminated for copyright infringement.

2. Network capture/sniffing:

Looking at what someone else is doing on a computer network requires two things: access to that network and the ability to decode the traffic once you have that access. With WiFi, access is easy … no physical connection is required, just someone close enough to access the radio signal (and with modern antennas, that can be surprisingly far away — up to a mile). As for decoding what you are up to online, while most internet traffic is encrypted by the application (thank you TLS, not everything is protected … and you’d be surprised how much metadata about someone’s activities you can get from the unencrypted traffic. You can potentially tell what websites someone is visiting, even if you can’t see the web traffic itself.

3. Abusing network services:

Many people have network attached printers, file servers, cameras, home security systems, and other smart home devices. Most of these devices try very hard to make using them easy and intuitive … the last thing manufacturers want is to annoy their customers with too many steps. But the same features that make it easy for you to use may make it easy for an attacker to use as well. This can range from printing garbage to stealing data from your file servers to watching people via the camera and even unlocking your front door.

But there are ways to prevent all these problems. Below you’ll find ways to make your home network more secure. We’ve listed them from easy to hard, from most important to least important. At a high level, everyone should do steps 1 & 2, and should think about step 3. If you’re especially tech savvy, then step 4 is a good step to take, although it can make troubleshooting access issues a bit more difficult. Finally, step 5 isn’t a technical step, but is standard maintenance that everyone should consider.

The first step, and one that is more and more common by default on WiFi devices, is to enable encryption. There are several WiFi encryption standards, with different levels of rigor and difficulty to break. Starting with WEP, then came WPA, WPA2, and (launching soon) WPA3. As these levels have evolved, they’ve gotten harder and harder to crack, using the latest in cryptographic standards.

Setting up WiFi encryption is a fairly straightforward task. For Google Fiber devices, the online support pages walk you through enabling WPA2 encryption on the network box (and here’s how to do it on Google WiFi). Other manufacturers will have other processes to enable WiFi encryption, and if it isn’t done by default, it should be the first step you take when setting up your home network (search online if instructions are not included in the box).

Almost every WiFi access point that ships today comes with a default SSID and default login credentials (aka admin password). This is handy and helpful for launching the device, but these defaults are often easily determined, printed on the side of the device, or both. As such, changing them to something you know that’s hard for others to guess is a great way to prevent someone easily figuring out the credentials and taking over your WiFi device.

The same page that shows how to set up encryption on the Google Fiber network box also walks through changing the SSID and password (check here for how to do this on Google WiFi).

Do you have smart home devices at home? Does half your house chirp if you say “Hey Google” or “Alexa”? Maybe an Android TV device for watching YouTube TV on your main set? If so, often these devices don’t need to be on the same network as your home computers, phones, tablets, and other computer devices.

Many newer WiFi routers allow you to set up multiple SSIDs, sometimes also referred to as setting up a guest network in addition to your main one. In this way, you can separate your smart home devices from your main household network, isolating devices that don’t need to talk to the printer or file servers or the like off into their own space. With the explosion of devices that simply connect to the internet, there is no reason to allow them to access other local devices.

Most WiFi routers have the ability to lock down an SSID so that only devices with approved MAC addresses can use them. At a high level, a MAC address is a unique* identifier that every network device has for identifying it on the local network. While the IP address assigned to that device may change, the MAC will stay the same*.

Given this, if you know the MAC addresses of the devices in your house, you can lock your WiFi so that ONLY those devices can access the network. So even if an attacker was able to get the SSID and encryption information, they still couldn’t access the network as their device wouldn’t be on the approved list.

So at this point, you’ve set up your home router: It is encrypted, with a personalized SSID, and has new admin credentials. You may also have set up multiple networks to separate devices that don’t need to talk to each other. Perhaps you’ve even gone to the effort of locking devices by MAC address. You’ve done the key technical steps, and now it’s time to think about maintenance. 

Just like you change the oil in your car, the filters in your furnace/AC, or the batteries in your smoke detectors, so you also need to update and change the settings of your WiFi every 6 months or so:

  • The first thing to do is check for updates. Similar to how the OS on your phone/computer/etc receives new versions, there will also be new versions of the firmware that runs your WiFi router. Check to make sure you’re running the latest version — if you aren’t sure how to do this for your device, do an online search with your model name/number and “firmware update.”

  • Review your router logs. Check to make sure you know all the devices that are on your network. If you set up MAC address filtering, verify all those devices are still in use. If you threw something out, then make sure you’ve removed it from the approved address list.

  • Rotate the encryption key. This is going to be annoying, there is no way to get around that. Every device on that SSID will need to be updated with the new key. But if you did have someone who had figured out the key and was surreptitiously using your WiFi, rotating the key will knock them off your network.

  • Change the admin credentials. Similar to underwear, passwords should not be shared and should be changed regularly.

WiFi is here to stay and will remain the main way we’ll be getting online for the foreseeable future. By taking a little bit of time, you can make sure that there are no security surprises lurking on your home network.

* Yes, MAC addresses can be changed, but that is rare, and highly unusual.

Posted by Chris Rosenraad, Head of Security, Privacy, & Trust.


author: Chris Rosenraad

title: Head of Security, Privacy, & Trust

category: product_news

One hot summer in the Salt Lake Valley

Our city update series continues, this time checking in with our team in Utah.

Google Fiber got our start in Utah in Provo in 2014, and expanded to start building our network in Salt Lake City the following year. This month, we’ll complete our initial build in Salt Lake City, which means that residents across the capital city have access to our high-speed, high-broadband service and everything that comes with it — for working, learning, playing, or watching.

As we close out our SLC build (don’t worry, we’ll continue to maintain our network and fill in new neighborhoods in SLC proper as needed going forward), we’re ramping up our activities in other communities throughout the Wasatch Front.

We’re currently building in South Salt Lake, Millcreek, Taylorsville, and Holladay, and expect to launch build efforts soon in North Salt Lake, Sandy, and as of last week, Woods Cross. We’ll launch service in many of these areas by early next year. We’re also talking to other cities across the region, and hope to continue to expand access to great internet for more Utahns.

All of this activity means more work for our local team than ever before. So we’re looking for a few more team members. If you are looking for your next challenge, take a look at our open jobs and join us!

Serving the Valley

Google Fiber is proud to partner with some incredible local organizations, working to help make digital equity a reality for all our communities. The last year has shown just how vital these efforts are and we’re grateful for the work these partners do. To help support these efforts, we continue to support local schools, libraries, Utah Communities Connect and others in furthering the goal of digital equity in Utah.

Most recently, we connected Spy Hop’s new facility to gigabit internet as a part of Google Fiber’s Community Connection program. And last week, we welcomed four new NTEN fellows who will work to address digital equity issues in Utah.

We’re just heating up here in Utah, and don’t expect to cool off anytime soon. Google Fiber is working to bring more people online across the region — follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date on what’s next.

Posted by Scott Tenney, Head of Sales; Michelle Koyle, Tech Lead; & Jacob Brace, Government & Community Affairs Manager.



author: Scott Tenney, Michelle Koyle, Jacob Brace

title: Head of Sales, Tech Lead, Government & Community Affairs Manager

category: city_news

backgroundsize: contain

Introducing the 2021 Digital Inclusion Fellows

When I joined the very first cohort of Google Fiber Digital Inclusion Fellows back in 2015, I wanted to figure out how to make broadband internet more accessible for communities like the one I grew up in.

I was raised in the Rio Grande Valley, along the US-Mexico border, where the internet is often inaccessible, either because broadband service isn’t offered or it is too expensive. In fact, many cities in the Valley (including Harlingen, Pharr and Brownsville) still rank among the worst connected communities in the country. When we finally got the internet at home, it made a world of difference for me and my family. Suddenly, I could fill out college applications at home, I could research things and places that I had never heard of and - most importantly — I could begin the long process of building up digital skills that would last me a lifetime, and continue to play a central role in my work as a Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber today

When I applied to the program six years ago, I could not have imagined the impact that the Digital Inclusion Fellowship would have in the coming years. Nor could I have imagined how critical and important the work of digital navigators would become. Even before the pandemic, the demand for internet speed and capacity was growing, and there are still at least 21 million Americans without broadband internet at home (and this number may be much higher). And while 2021 promises to be a banner year for broadband internet funding, breaking down barriers to digital equity will mean getting folks on the ground to create and implement robust digital inclusion programs. 

That’s why I’m extremely proud to welcome the 7th cohort of Digital Inclusion Fellows — Google Fiber co-founded this program with NTEN to grow the community of digital literacy leaders, advocates and practitioners across the country. Since 2015, we’ve sponsored 75 Fellows across the country, working with local nonprofit organizations and institutions to create and manage digital inclusion programs. These programs range from improving access to the internet to multi-generational digital literacy initiatives. 

Here’s the next generation of change makers who are devoting the next year to broadening digital equity in their communities:

We’re looking forward to watching these Fellows in action and supporting their critical work, as they drive digital equity in their communities. To learn more about the fellows and keep up with the latest on Google Fiber, follow our Twitter and Facebook feeds!

Posted by Daniel Lucio, Community Impact Manager

author: Daniel Lucio
title: Community Impact Manager
category: community_impact

How my family watches what we love (without cable)

My family loves TV. Seriously, any one of us would be a stellar entertainment trivia partner. But we don’t watch anything over cable. Why? Because we know the best way to watch TV is over the internet — especially over internet that’s both fast and reliable (hint: no buffering, low resolution, or data overages). 

Check out each of our streaming setups.

My ad-averse mom

My mom’s movie-obsessed and commercial-averse. She doesn’t believe that critically acclaimed work should be interrupted by a 30-second plea for you to buy something. Which is why she doesn’t mind paying the extra bucks for commercial-free services like Netflix for her binge-watching ways. 

She also recently discovered the highly curated movie streaming service: The Criterion Channel — essentially her very own equivalent to striking gold. Her next mission is finding a service that delivers popcorn to couches.


Some other good services if you love film and TV without commercials:


My major league stepdad

My stepdad’s from Boston, translation: He has never missed an important baseball game in what I’m assuming is his entire life. Aside from a well-grilled quesadilla, there’s nothing he cares about more than sports. 

That’s why he’s big on services like Fubo TV and ESPN+. And even if he’s not home to catch the game, these services make it so that he can stay up on every play from his phone.


Some other good services if you love live, local, and sometimes not-so-local sports:


My money-conscious girlfriend

My partner is the financial-minded person in our relationship. She saves way more than she spends and is always looking for new ways to stay budget-friendly. That’s why she prefers free streaming services like Pluto TV. She also genuinely enjoys watching commercials … I know — I don’t get it, either.


Some other good services if you don’t love spending money:


My on-the-go bro

My brother is graduating from college this year and will likely be moving around a lot, which makes being roped into a cable bundle way less than ideal. That’s part of why he watches live TV with YouTube TV. It has every major channel he wants to watch and then some — plus, he can watch from anywhere. 

And if he’s studying for a test (which he’d better be) and has to miss a live premiere, he can record it with unlimited DVR space and watch it later.


Some other good services if you love live TV without forced bundles:


As for me, I like a lot of different things

From horror, to drag competitions, to documentaries, I like it all. That’s why I go with a few low-cost, channel-specific streaming services like Shudder, World of Wonder Presents Plus, and HBO Max. And since they’re all month-to-month services, I can always cancel if I want a different mix of streaming services for the month.


Some other good services if you love to mix it up:


Oh, and I didn’t forget about my little snack stealer

My dog Vero (a very fluffy Bernedoodle) doesn’t care what’s on TV as long as there’s a spot for him on the couch. Which there always is. There’s usually a few pieces of popcorn for him, too. 


Posted by Talia Bootz, Creative and Social Content Manager. When she’s not streaming her faves, she’s likely kayaking, skating around town, or cooking up some vegetarian food.


author: Talia Bootz

title: Creative and Social Content Manager

category: meet_the_team

In the Triangle, Google Fiber is working all the angles.

The Triangle isn’t just a Google Fiber city — it’s our East Coast hub, and we’ve got a lot going on across the region. Right now, customers can sign up for 1 Gig and 2 Gig in Morrisville and Carrboro, and parts of Cary, Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. And we’re continuing to expand our network across the region. Construction is underway in all of the cities we’re still working to complete our network build, including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Cary. 

With all that activity, our team is also growing. Just before the pandemic, we’d expanded our downtown Durham offices on Chapel Hill Street to make room for our expanding team, but we haven’t yet gotten the chance to properly move in. We’re looking forward to doing that later this year. Plans for the new space include a lobby featuring the work of our incredible non-profit partners’ digital equity work across the Triangle. Once we’re back in the office, we hope you’ll come and get to know these organizations, whose work has only become even more critical.

And if you’re looking for your next opportunity, we’d love to have you join the Google Fiber team and help us connect more customers in our area and across the country to great internet. We have both local and central roles open in the Triangle, and, just like Google, we’re growing here and need your help! 

Serving our community

Despite the weirdness of the last year — or maybe because of its challenges — our community impact work continued to grow over the last year. Google Fiber is a lead sponsor of “Building a New Digital Economy” (BAND-NC), created by the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State  and the Broadband Infrastructure Office at the NC Department of Information Technology. This initiative provides mini-grants to communities to implement digital inclusion plans, begin a digital inclusion planning process, or meet immediate digital needs, with the ultimate goal of making North Carolina the first state with a digital inclusion plan for each county.

Earlier this spring, Google Fiber partner RIoT, along with Facebook Reality Labs and US Ignite launched an augmented reality challenge called RIoT Your Reality. Google Fiber teamed up with  The City of Raleigh and the Town of Cary to sponsor an opportunity challenge, "Improving Inclusivity and Accessibility for City Programs & Services," focusing on using augmented reality to make our cities more inclusive and accessible. The applications are in and candidates are currently going through the pitch process — winners will be announced in July, so stay tuned! 

2020 challenged many of our local institutions to find new ways to connect and engage our communities, and Google Fiber was proud to be able to support these efforts. The Museum of Life & Science brought STEM programming to life during quarantine by creating Field Trip Fridays, behind the scenes visits to see science at work at local businesses throughout Durham and the Triangle. You can take the journey yourself by watching the 2020 recap video or any of the Field Trip Friday Episodes.

We continue to focus on our traditional areas of digital inclusion and STEM education, but also added a new focus this year, racial justice and equity. Google Fiber sponsored the United Way of the Greater Triangle’s Anti-Racism Fund, with a clear vision that our work on digital equity is a piece of a much larger puzzle. Creating anti-racist capacity across our community will provide the opportunities for our entire region to grow and thrive.

Faster and farther

The Triangle is growing in leaps and bounds, and Google Fiber is so excited to keep working towards connecting the region to the fastest internet in town. 

Posted by Spencer Walston, Head of Sales; Jason Smith, Head of Metro Technical Operations, & Jess George, Government & Community Affairs Manager

author: Spencer Walston, Jason Smith, Jess George
title: Head of Sales, Head of Metro Technical Operations, Government & Community Affairs Manager
category: city_news

Better TV is here

In February, we asked our TV customers in Huntsville, Alabama, to help us test an upgraded TV experience. We had over 50 households sign up as trusted testers, making the switch to a better TV experience with Chromecast with Google TV, the live streaming services of their choice, and upgraded home Wi-Fi with Google Wifi

Thanks to our testers, we’ve learned a lot about how to make this process easy for our customers. So today, we’re making this offer available to all existing Fiber TV customers in every Google Fiber city. 

Customers who are ready to get more out of their TV can chat with one of our customer service team members to upgrade to the best viewing experience the internet has to offer over the fastest internet available (yes, that’s Google Fiber). 

The best TV is already online. With Chromecast with Google TV, customers get all the features they’ve come to expect and more, including a voice remote control, 4K Ultra HD support, personal recommendations, and easy search across apps, with access to many different streaming services at a significantly lower cost than they currently pay for their Fiber TV service. 

Whether you are into movies, local or national news, live sports, or something more niche, there’s a place to watch it online. Google Fiber wants to help Fiber TV customers find their perfect TV experience with streaming TV, and we’re starting right now. 

Ready to switch? We’re ready to make it happen! And if you still want to learn a little more first, check out

Posted by Liz Hsu, Director of Product Strategy


name: Liz Hsu

title: Director of Product Stratey

category: product_news

categoryimage: true

chatbuttontext: true

Helping our communities through 2020 – Google Fiber’s 2020 Community Impact Report

Google Fiber has always focused on helping communities take on the very real digital equity challenges they grapple with every day. We’ve been lucky to partner with some incredible organizations over the past decade, working to make each of our Fiber cities more digitally inclusive places. The past year has magnified the importance of these efforts, with the pandemic and the related changes to our daily lives having an outsized impact on disadvantaged communities.  

PCs for the People in Kansas City

As Google Fiber worked to adapt to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we realized many of our local non-profit partners, and the people they serve, were working overtime to do the same. So we adjusted our approach over the last year to help those organizations serve their communities’ most immediate needs, whether that was internet access for learning or work, devices to get online, unemployment, or food insecurity

Given the enormous challenges of 2020, Google Fiber increased our community impact investments across the country. As we do every year, we recently surveyed our non-profit partners about their experience and their impact. We’re so inspired by what they were able to achieve in the face of the incredible adversity during 2020:

  • Over 250,000 people participated in programming funded by Google Fiber 
  • Even with the challenges of the pandemic, partners provided 124,000 hours of digital literacy training both virtually and in person, and prepared more than 3,000 new volunteer trainers to pay this work forward
  • Partners distributed over 8,500 devices to help people get online
  • More than 700 job seekers gained employment through funded programming
  • Entrepreneurship programs led to 43 new businesses
  • More than 6,000 people connected new internet servicein their homes

Libraries without Borders in San Antonio

Additionally, we supported organizations focused on racial justice and equity at a new level this year to help many of our communities bridge not just the digital divide, but the other issues that divide our communities. A little bit more about who our partners serve:

  • 92% work with underrepresented groups
  • 79% work with children or seniors
  • 52% work with the LGBTQ+ community
  • 51% work with individuals with disabilities
  • 36% work with veterans
  • 31% work with previously incarcerated individuals

Goodwill of Western Missouri & Eastern Kansas

Every day, these groups are making change happen in our communities, creating a more equitable, just, and connected place that will create a lasting and exponential difference to our cities and our world. Thank you to all our partners! 


Posted by Rachel Merlo, Government & Community Affairs Manager, Kansas City


Author: Rachel Merlo

Title: Government & Community Affairs Manager

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