Author Archives: Google Fiber
Guest Blog: The Institute for Local Self Reliance Supports Community-Driven Connectivity
Our community impact work has always been rooted in collaborations with local organizations working in their communities on digital equity issues. With the support of Google Fiber, the Institute for Local Self Reliance and the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio recently hosted a digital equity bootcamp program to empower other local organizations to take action.
In today’s world, there are few things more essential than staying connected. Whether it’s working from home, distance learning, staying connected to friends and family, scrolling the web or taking advantage of telehealth, Internet access is vital.
For 90% of Americans, being online has become second nature. But, for tens of millions of Americans, high-speed Internet connectivity is a luxury they either can’t afford or access, making life considerably more challenging to navigate.
At the Institute for Local Self Reliance, we have a vision of helping communities become thriving, diverse, and equitable places to live, work and enjoy. One of the ways we do this is through our Community Broadband Networks Initiative. This initiative supports locally rooted, democratically accountable broadband networks that provide fast, affordable and reliable Internet access to all Americans.
In January, we partnered with the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio to co-host a digital equity bootcamp in San Antonio. The full-day bootcamp focused on building knowledge and trust among local organizations so that they can engage in strategic campaigns to promote digital inclusion in their communities. Participants developed familiarity with key terms and technologies related to Internet access, engaging one another in break-out groups where they were able to share local strategies, challenges and solutions to achieve their digital equity goals.
In Texas alone, nearly 2.8 million households—totaling 7 million people—lack broadband access. Just two years ago, nearly one-third of households in San Antonio lacked a high-speed Internet connection (over 10% have no Internet access at all), among one of the worst rates of any metro area in the country.
By hosting digital equity bootcamps, we hope to educate local organizations—providing them with the skills, relationships and expertise needed—to empower change in the community.
Together, ILSR and the Digital Inclusion Alliance of San Antonio, are working to provide individuals with the knowledge and power to advocate for themselves and their communities to attain digital equity and ensure that everyone has equal opportunity to participate in today’s interconnected society and the economy.
Posted by DeAnne Cuellar, community broadband outreach team lead for the Institute for Local Self Reliance, DIASA Co-Chair
AY Creative drives big online impact for clients
Next up in our SMB series - AY Creative in Salt Lake City, a community-based digital media agency helping Utah businesses make the most of their online presence.
At AY Creative, we’re a digital media agency — but we’re also much more than that. At our core, we’re a community based organization that isn’t afraid to get involved.
The vast majority of our customers are immigrant owned businesses that don’t have the resources or time to spend on any aspect of their business pursuits that aren’t day-to-day, operational tasks. Those clients are local, Salt Lake City area businesses that span from restaurants, doctors, lawyers, nonprofits, markets, construction firms and contractors, and many others. Our job at AY Creative is to work with those small businesses and help create a digital presence and cohesive branding. Many of our clients don’t have much digital literacy to begin with, so we help them through a sort of ‘digital transformation.’
We help them do this in English and Spanish. When I first came to the states, language was a huge barrier for me. That’s part of the reason it’s so important to me to do the work that we do and that every employee at AY Creative is bilingual. Each one of us is dedicated to helping immigrant owned businesses thrive and learn new skills, including the importance of a digital presence. That also means that when there’s a need for help, we step up.
When businesses are really struggling, we sometimes put our resources and knowledge to use for low rates. Right now, we’re working with a couple of restaurants that have been struggling to recover from the effects of COVID. From photography of their dishes, to menu design, to building a new website, to social presence, to helping them integrate with online ordering (which is now an essential component to owning a restaurant) — we are there to walk them through a complete takeover of branding and digital marketing.
We do this work because it’s important to us to lift up the members of our community — and from a business standpoint, it’s actually been a great investment. A lot of those customers come back in more fruitful times because they remember we helped them when they needed it. Or they refer us to other businesses across the Salt Lake City area. To our team, there’s nothing better than that.
Functionally speaking, the work we do wouldn’t be possible without the internet. We’re often downloading and uploading massive design and video files from and to the cloud, and that’s part of what makes having Google Fiber as our internet provider so important.
From the time we signed up for Google Fiber, to the installation, to any time we’ve needed to reach out for assistance — the response time has been great and customer service has been top notch. For example, we were on a 250 Meg plan but I wanted to get us on 1 Gig. I reached out to our local rep one day and by the morning I came in the next day, our service had been fully upgraded. Our files were flying faster than ever.
The switch to Google Fiber also cut our previous internet bill in half. For us, that means a little more wiggle room to be able to help more struggling Salt Lake City businesses — and to AY Creative, that also means just about everything.
Posted by Alfonso Ayala, Small Business Advisor, AY Creative
Fall in love with fast — 5 Gig is here!
Back in October we put out a call for trusted testers to give our new higher speed products a spin, and hundreds of people raised their hands. Thanks to the help of dozens of testers, today we’re rolling out our 5 Gig product in Kansas City, West Des Moines, and all our Utah cities.
5 Gig offers symmetrical upload and download speeds with a Wi-Fi 6 router (or you can easily use your own), up to two mesh extenders and professional installation, all for $125 a month. Installation also includes an upgraded 10 Gig Fiber Jack, which means your home will be prepared for even more internet when the time comes.
As our homes get “smarter” and every device is set up to stream, having access to higher speed, higher bandwidth internet becomes even more important. 5 Gig is designed to handle the demands of heavy internet users — for example, creative professionals, people working in the cloud or with large data, households with large shared internet demands. 5 Gig will make it easier to upload and download simultaneously, no matter the file size, and will make streaming a dream even with multiple devices.
5 Gig is a product you can fall in love with fast, and we’re just getting started. 5 Gig will roll out in other cities later this year (and 8 Gig is on the horizon too), so stay tuned!
Posted by Nick Saporito, Head of Multi-gig and Commercial Product
Google Fiber continues to grow – Next Up: Westminster, Colorado, and Chandler, Arizona!
In 2022, Google Fiber kicked off expansion in five new states, and started the ball rolling in Mesa, Arizona, Omaha, Nebraska, and Lakewood, Colorado. Those announcements were just the beginning. Today, we’re announcing the cities that are next up — Westminster, Colorado, and Chandler, Arizona!
Google Fiber has entered into an agreement with the City of Westminster, to provide fast, reliable internet to residents and businesses in the City. Right now, we’re working on engineering and planning for the new network. We expect to begin construction later this year and serve our first customers in early 2024. If you are interested in keeping up with our progress in Westminster, you can sign up for more information about availability and construction.
Last night, the Chandler City Council approved a license agreement allowing Google Fiber to build a fiber-to-the-home network to serve residents and businesses with high speed, high bandwidth internet. Construction in Chandler will start later this year with service beginning in early 2024. If you are interested in getting updates on our progress and availability, sign up for more information here.
Stay tuned - as we head into spring the forecast calls for more internet.
Posted by Sasha Petrovic, General Manager, Southwest Region, and Ashley Church, General Manager, West Region
Tico Sports helps clients take center field (even at the BIGGEST game of all)
The next installment of our small business blog series features Tico Sports, a division of Tico Productions LLC, doing some SUPER creative work for their clients (on both sides of the field this weekend) with quality internet helping them stay connected across the country.
We’re pretty busy these days. Tico Productions LLC is a multi-lingual, full-service marketing agency in Kansas City, Missouri, that specializes in cause-marketing, graphic design, video production, creative strategy, and social media. As a piece of that work, Tico Sports provides high energy Spanish-language broadcasts for professional and collegiate sports teams — yes, including the teams currently warming up in Arizona.
So it’s vitally important that Tico Sports’ internet works as hard as our team and keeps up with the speed of the athletes on the field. At Tico Sports, our Google Fiber service keeps our live game broadcasts running in real time, and the symmetrical speeds allow our team to quickly transfer large data files for our video production work. Much of our business depends on our technology working well so that we can reach audiences quickly and efficiently. Our internet partner is a critical component to our success.
Communication is the name of our game — we have to be able to do this constantly and consistently so that our clients get the results they expect from us. We have been in business for a decade (kind of like Google Fiber), helping our clients tell their stories in authentic ways that get people moving. Having Google Fiber (and their team) in our corner as a strategic partner really helps us come through for our clients — whether THE BIG GAME or just their big day. Regardless of the stage, our internet service helps us make our clients shine.
Posted by Delia Marin, Chief Operating Officer, Tico Productions LLC
The future of tech is connected — Reflections on CES 2023
A few of our Google Fiber teammates went to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023 to get the scoop on what’s next in tech and to make sure Google Fiber is ready for it. Check out their thoughts on the conference and what it means for Google Fiber.
The energy of CES 2023 was striking. It is the second year back to in person programming since the pandemic began, and it was clear that every attendee (~115,000) was fired up to get their hands on a look into the future of tech.
To set the scene: There wasn’t a single booth space empty and, needless to say, there was new technology everywhere. We spent a lot of time exploring the interactive features and getting a feel for the groundbreaking new hardware.
Here are our key takeaways:
1. The home is getting even smarter.
Devices centered around the connected home and pervasive AI was one of the main themes at this year’s CES. Smart bird feeders, robot lawn mowers, connected electric panels, 8K VR headsets (with rumblings of 12K upcoming), various immersive content experiences — these products are examples of how brands are pushing the boundaries of what we know technology to be capable of from every angle.
To Tom Lee, a Commodity Program Manager at Google Fiber, his experience with the latest high resolution VR display felt (quite literally) out of this world as he was immersed in a virtual space flight. He also noted that Matter, a smart home interoperability protocol, is becoming predominant as it was featured in many of the large consumer brand showcases, use of Matter will help push the smart home revolution to the next level.
While much of this technology isn’t readily available to us now, it’s evident that technology featured at CES this year will soon become standard. Which brings us to our next point. . .
2. All those new home devices need great home internet.
Why did a team of Google Fiber folks head all the way to Las Vegas to attend CES? Think about it this way: All of that new connected home technology needs a home network that’s ready to support it.
In order to best serve those future needs with future-proof internet, it is important to be familiar with the types of devices that are coming down the pike. That means it’s important for us to get an understanding of which applications and devices will require faster internet, and a reduction in Wi-Fi latency, so we’re able to prepare our network to handle those demands.
3. Wi-Fi 7 has arrived.
Potentially the most notable development for us was the introduction of Wi-Fi 7 at CES 2023. We knew it was coming, but to see it work in real time clarified the next step in our quest to bring customers internet that can do it all.
Several vendors demonstrated the ability of Wi-Fi 7 to deliver speeds nearing 5-7 Gbps over the air, which is a huge jump forward. Tom pointed out that the highly anticipated Multi-Link Operation (MLO) feature will greatly reduce Wi-Fi latency by combining multiple radios to enhance video conferencing and gaming experiences. With previous generations of Wi-Fi, even if you had a 5 Gig connection to your home, you would also need to be connected through Ethernet cable via a 10 Gig network to get anywhere close to realizing that speed. Wi-Fi 7 opens up a whole new world for the future of wireless and multigig connections in the home.
4. Multi-gig is officially the new gigabit.
We walked away from CES 2023 more confident than ever that multi-gig internet is well on its way to becoming mainstream. From the sheer amount of connected devices in (and outside) the home, to the increased bandwidth requirements for things like working from home, streaming 8k video, and virtual reality, multi-gig will soon become a necessity in the coming years — and we’re ready to bring it to our customers.
Posted by Nagaraj Padur, Networking System Architect; Tom Lee, Commodity Program Manager; Richard Zhou, Networking System Architect; and Nick Saporito, Head of Multi-gig & Commercial Product
Guest Blog: The Science of Fun: Inside Thinkery’s Quest for Joyful Learning
Google Fiber’s Community Connection program provides gigabit internet service to nonprofit partners. Today, Shaleiah Fox, Chief Advancement Officer with Thinkery, an Austin-based STEAM learning experience for children, shares how the museum is using this program to power discovery and exploration for Austin’s kids.
Working at Thinkery is different from any job I’ve ever had. To start, we’re the most visited cultural institution here in Austin, Texas, and we’re dedicated to inspiring joyful learning for children. In and of itself working at Thinkery is an incredibly unique experience. But it’s really being a part of a team that works to make inspiring learning accessible to all children and families here in Central Texas that makes it a dream.
If you’ve visited our museum, you know you’re in for a day full of hands-on, thought provoking play and knowledge building. We’re a philanthropic hub for play-based STEAM learning, creativity, and imagination housed inside a 40,000 square foot facility in the heart of Austin.
In 2013, the Austin Children's Museum rebranded to Thinkery and moved from downtown Austin to the Mueller area and became a Google Fiber Community Connection. We have a responsibility to make sure that all children in Central Texas have access to joyful learning experiences. Being a Community Connection allows us to reach more people who need to know about Thinkery and to create a more inclusive experience for them.
Inside our walls, being a Google Fiber Community Connection means keeping our kids connected to their learning pursuits. An example of this is Our Stop Motion Animation Exhibit, which allows kids to come in and create their own movies. Once they do, they can upload and send those videos to themselves or family to showcase what they’ve created. Everything we do here at Thinkery is designed so that a lifelong learning connection doesn’t stop when you leave our museum doors. In a way, our Stop Motion Animation exhibit is a physical manifestation of the way in which we keep that promise — and it’s powered by the internet.
At the end of the day, seeing the smile on a kid’s face when they learn something new or have a new experience makes every piece of effort we put into our programming just that much more worth it. We’re incredibly proud of the work we do for our Central Texas community.
Posted by Shaleiah Fox, Chief Advancement Officer, Thinkery
How radio takes our fiber optic network to new heights
At Google Fiber, we’re working to bring fast, reliable internet to more people — because everybody deserves fast, reliable internet.
While we’re better known for our fiber-to-the-home networks, that’s not the only way we bring great internet to customers. Google Fiber Webpass uses wireless technology to provide high-speed internet to the apartments, condominiums and offices we serve across the country. As we continue to grow our footprint across the country, we’re integrating this method for delivering high-speed service in more areas where it makes sense in all our existing cities and in our new expansion areas as well.
Wireless technology is a broad term that can mean many different things, like Wi-Fi, cellular, bluetooth, IOT protocols and military communications. Those are great, but the Google Fiber Webpass wireless method of internet deployment is different. We use millimeter wave — or wireless radio — technology for what’s known as “backhaul,” for how we deliver wireless internet to any given building.
This method can really speed up how quickly we can get service to a multi-unit building. Simply put, while our fiber optic lines deliver fast speeds, they can be costly and time consuming to construct, or even simply infeasible to deploy especially in dense, urban areas, where many of these buildings are. With radio technology, all we have to do is bring our fiber optic connection to one of the buildings in the radio network that covers a given area. That makes it incredibly fast and easy to implement and still delivers remarkable speeds, which can be comparable to a fiber optic connection, so we can serve more units more quickly.
So how does our radio technology work? If you live in a building that’s equipped with our millimeter wave internet, notice up on the roof of one of our Google Fiber Webpass buildings a small-but-mighty radio.
Though you can’t see it, that radio is pointing directly at another radio on top of a different building nearby. This allows us to cover a lot of ground (or sky, in this case), very quickly. When we install these radios, we line them up so precisely that it’s like perfectly aligning two tips of a very well sharpened pencil. Each radio acts as a transmitter and a receiver, like a wireless bridge — almost like fiber optic lines across town.
And when it comes to performance, like fiber optic, our millimeter wave technology travels nearly at the speed of light — meaning our customers get a very fast, very reliable connection. The only tangible difference between fiber optic and millimeter wave technology is that while one uses glass cables to transmit internet nearly at the speed of light, the other uses air.
Like any technology, internet technology is continually improving. Fiber optic and millimeter wave technologies are linked, so when fiber optic technology gets better, so does wireless. Google Fiber is continuing to integrate our use of wireless and fiber optic technology to offer customers the fast, reliable internet service they expect from us.
Posted by Tom Brownlow, Senior Network Operations Manager, and Blake Drager, Head of Technology - Google Fiber Webpass
Foundation Communities Uses a Support-Based Approach to Solving Austin’s Housing Crisis
“I’m ready to conquer it all. This is my stepping stone and I’m ready to do what’s needed to become successful.” That’s how Brionna Watters, a single mother of two, describes her outlook on life since recently becoming a resident of Foundation Communities through the organization’s Children’s HOME Initiative (CHI) for families who are homeless or at-risk of becoming homeless.
The mission of Foundation Communities is “creating housing where families succeed.” That’s what the Austin, Texas, based nonprofit has been doing since it was founded in 1990. And thanks to decades of steady growth, it now owns and manages 26 affordable apartment communities in Austin and North Texas—19 for families and seven for single adults. Seven more affordable communities are currently in the construction or planning stages. When the construction is complete, Foundation Communities will be home to more than 8,000 people, many of whom will have come directly out of homelessness.
CHI client Brionna Watters and case manager James Ortiz pose with Brionna’s new laptop at a Foundation Communities property.
But affordable housing is just part of the story. Over the years, Foundation Communities has also expanded its portfolio of supportive services for its residents and lower-income Central Texans. This includes educational programs like: onsite Learning Centers that provide afterschool and summer enrichment for children and higher education opportunities; financial stability programs such as free tax preparation, affordable health insurance enrollment and financial coaching; and health initiatives such as free healthy food pantries and exercise programs. All these opportunities are made possible because of the power and reliability of digital connectivity.
“We don’t want to just provide a cheap apartment,” said Foundation Communities Executive Director Walter Moreau. “We want to provide great communities where people are proud of where they live and have opportunities right at their doorstep.”
Foundation Communities resident Robert Rangel enjoys a book and his support animal Tony at a Foundation Communities property
As a part of that holistic support model, Brionna Watters’ family is one of those receiving a free computer from Foundation Communities which was made possible through a grant from Google Fiber, as a part of its digital inclusion efforts to increase communication and learning opportunities for lower-income Americans. Watters says for her family, the timing couldn’t be better. “I plan on going to college for real estate,” said Watters. “So, I was actually going to have to purchase a laptop.”
Each resident at Foundation Communities’ M Station Apartments also has access to high-speed internet service provided byGoogle Fiber to ensure they have internet connectivity to achieve their online goals.
James Ortiz knows firsthand how transformative Foundation Communities’ affordable housing + supportive services model can be — and how vital it is to have access to programs and resources online. His parents divorced when he was nine years old which made the family’s economic hardships even worse. Ortiz says it was very fortunate that his mother was able to get herself, him and his sister into a Foundation Communities apartment, which provided much needed stability. After graduating from college, Ortiz immediately sought employment with Foundation Communities. Now, he works as a case manager in the CHI program helping families like his overcome their struggles.
“In this role, I have been able to work directly with a number of families, in a collaborative process that fosters individual and family growth,” said Ortiz. While this role has its challenges, the rewards I garner from the work are immeasurable.”
You can learn more about Foundation Communities and its Children’s HOME Initiative at https://foundcom.org/housing/at-risk-homeless-families/.
Posted by Norris Deajon, Communications and Marketing Manager for Foundation Communities