Category Archives: Google Fiber

The latest news from the Google Fiber team

NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellowships Applications Open Now

Earlier this week, our partner, NTEN launched applications for its sixth cohort of Digital Inclusion Fellows. The Fellowship program supports organizations serving communities impacted by the digital divide and who want to launch or expand digital literacy programs. In this time of social distancing and the urgent need to get more of our neighbors online, the program can be a resource to more organizations than we ever imagined when we first started.

Google Fiber is proud to have co-founded this program with NTEN in 2015. We’ve sponsored 68 Fellows over the first five years, driving meaningful work to address digital equity in their communities and establishing themselves as national leaders. Google Fiber-sponsored Fellows have provided almost 80,000 training hours for nearly 20,000 people across the country. They’ve built a legion of 1,200 expert volunteers who can help their neighbors navigate technology when they need a guiding hand.

There is a lot to share about past Fellows and the digital inclusion projects they’ve led — here are just a few examples from past cohorts:

  • Krysti Nellermoe (Cohort 5), at the International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City, developed new systems to expand digital services at every point of the refugee experience. Resources included integrated skills training in job readiness and financial literacy programs for new arrivals to the United States, as well as business development and entrepreneurship workshops for those who have been in the country longer. She also established a Tech Mentor program, which provided new devices and in-home training for participants, and a series of Citizenship and Digital Safety workshops for teens. The IRC also hired a full-time digital inclusion coordinator over the last year, which great increased the reach of the program.
  • Emily Flores (Cohort 5), at the San Antonio Public Library, launched a Digital Inclusion Certification program, providing training in computer basics, job seeking skills, social media, and professional administrative skills in both English and Spanish.
  • Lindsey Sipe (Cohort 4), at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, developed Project LIFT, a six-week technology course where families each received 12 hours of digital literacy training and received a laptop and hotspot at the end of the course. Over 300 families have completed the course to date.


In the age of COVID-19, every organization -- from schools and clinics to churches and nonprofits -- needs a digital inclusion plan and dedicated resources to help underserved clients get online and support the building of their digital skills. The NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellowship is just one way Google Fiber is working to increase the reach and impact of these vital efforts. Thank you for helping us spread the word and encourage applications for the next cohort of the program.

Posted by Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Equity, Inclusion and Community Impact

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author: Parisa Fatehi-Weeks

title: Head of Equity, Inclusion, and Community Impact

category: community_impact

We’ve all got a lot happening on the internet

Like you, the Google Fiber team has become increasingly dependent on our internet connections for daily life. We’re working from home, teaching our kids, staying in touch with our friends and families, ordering meals and groceries, gaming, streaming, and trying to stay fit, centered and up-to-date on what’s happening inside our homes and outside our front doors  almost all of which needs the internet. 

So, we checked in with the Google Fiber team across the country to see how they’re putting their internet to use these days:

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Since our beginning, Google Fiber has worked to connect more people to great internet. We’ve never been more committed to that mission. We’ll keep working toward that goal, because we know you’ve got a lot happening on the internet.

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yturl: https://www.youtube.com/embed/18yaPKlRQQM

category: company_news

Libraries are helping bridge the digital divide during COVID-19

It’s National Library Week, and though many libraries are closed due to COVID-19, they continue to work to serve their clients and keep them connected to the larger world. To mark the week and honor the incredibly critical role libraries are playing every day both during this crisis and during more normal times, we’re sharing a post from Jill Joplin, Executive Director of the DeKalb County Library Foundation. The DCLF provides support beyond tax dollars to DeKalb County Public Library in Georgia and DCPL is just one of Google Fiber’s many library partners across the country working to help connect their communities during this time. For example, in San Antonio, we’ve partnered with Libraries without Borders to bring their Wash & Learn Initiative to local laundromats—and right now the WiFi has been extended to the parking lots so people can get online from the safety of their cars. In Nashville, Salt Lake City, Austin and other cities we have provided longtime support for Digital Inclusion Fellows and digital literacy support at public libraries.


At DeKalb County Public Library (DCPL), the Take the Internet Home with You initiative is one of the library’s most popular services and in today’s current COVID-19 environment, it is also one of the most valuable. Normally, patrons are able to check-out a WiFi hotspot for 21 days, and the devices are constantly checked out. Patrons wait by the front desk or call the library each day looking for returned hotspots. Our user data reveals more than 50% of patrons who check out these devices do not have access to the internet in their home.



Two of our regular patrons, who check out the devices as often as they can, were able to check out a device prior to the library’s closure due to COVID-19. The library is allowing patrons with the devices to keep them during the entirety of the closure and no late fines are being assessed. We checked in with them to see how they were using their devices. Joan is a retiree without home internet. She is very grateful to be able to keep the device she checked out during the library’s closure. She is staying in touch with her family and up to date with news and updates related to COVID-19. 

Our other patron, William, says what he once considered a pleasure — the ability to get online at home — is now a blessing. He has been able to file his unemployment paperwork online because he also had checked out a hotspot prior to the library closing. He also is keeping in touch with friends and enjoying streaming movies he wouldn’t be able to see without cable or an internet connection in his home. 

Although to many of us it seems like the entire world is virtually connected, in reality, 10% of Americans don’t have access to the Internet — that number goes up to 30% for low-income Americans. Staff at DeKalb County Public Library realized a few years ago that patrons were accessing the library’s WiFi signal during times the library was closed by sitting in the parking lot or on the steps of the building. Once we’d identified this need, DCPL began seeking funding to provide mobile hotspot devices for check out. 

Thanks to our partners at Google Fiber, Mailchimp, and New York Life, DCPL has been able to provide 200 hotspots to patrons across the library system. The library would not be able to offer this service without this funding from our partners.  While demand was always high for this initiative, with the economic impact of COVID-19, we anticipate it will be even more important in the future. We are proud we can support our patrons with this essential service. 

Posted by Jill Joplin, Executive Director,
DeKalb County Library Foundation



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author: Jill Joplin

category: community_impact

categoryimage: true

Helping our communities connect in a time of isolation

We’re all getting used to our quarantine world — working from home, teaching our kids, wearing masks — a lot has changed in the last month, and it looks like it’s going to be awhile before we return to our regularly scheduled lives.

Finding ways to connect with our families, coworkers, classmates, and friends from a distance has become essential for most of us. Google Fiber is grateful to get to be a part of facilitating that connection for our customers, and we take that responsibility very seriously. We wanted to share how we’re dealing with the COVID-19 crisis as we continue to bring high-speed, high-bandwidth internet to our customers and to our communities to keep even more people connected.

Serving our customers

Internet connections have become the foundation on which we build all our other connections, from work and studies to information and entertainment. A reliable Internet connection with the speed and capacity to meet our ever-growing needs is no longer something that’s just nice to have — it’s a necessity.

That’s why Google Fiber is continuing construction, installations and network maintenance. While most of our team members are working from home, we've made numerous process and equipment changes to protect the health and safety of our field teams, whose jobs require them to be out in the community, connecting customers or maintaining our network.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Personal protective equipment for our field teams 
  • Regular handwashing and sanitizing
  • Following social distancing practices
  • Restrictions on certain types of construction methods


In addition to these enhanced safety measures to protect our customers and crews, we’re coordinating with local governments and engaging communities within each city we serve to make sure we're charting the right local approach

For the most up-to-date information on our health and safety precautions, please visit our help center. And although our retail Fiber Spaces are closed, we are standing by 24/7 to help with anything you need to make your internet work for you, so please reach out to our team if you need anything.

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Serving our communities

Advancing digital inclusion is a central tenet of Google Fiber. In each of our communities, we partner with local organizations doing great work to help build digital literacy and increase internet access for residents.

Over the past two years, Google Fiber has supported nearly 1 million digital literacy training hours, helped provide more than 10,000 free or affordable devices to residents in need, connected 275,000 people to STEM programs, and empowered 7,000 aspiring entrepreneurs with training programs. In fact, in the last two years, our partner organizations were able to reach over 1.3 million unique participants across the country.

But there is much more work to be done. COVID-19 has sharpened that need, drawing clear lines between the digital haves and have-nots. Google Fiber and Webpass are investing in efforts across each of our cities to help more people connect during this difficult time, supporting organizations to help them meet the enormous technology demands for students and workers.

In several cities, including Austin, San Antonio, San Francisco, Irvine, Provo, Salt Lake City, and Chicago, we’ve partnered with the local public school district or their foundation to help students and their families as they adjust to schooling from home — targeting those families most impacted by the digital divide.  In other places, we’ve also funded the efforts of incredible organizations to better serve their communities’ increased needs and help provide devices and hot spots to their  clients:



We don’t know what’s going to happen next. Things are changing on a daily basis, and, like all of you, we’re working to meet the challenges and opportunities of this new normal. We do know that what you need and want from your internet — speed, reliability, great customer service — isn’t changing. We want to help you with that goal, both to help meet today’s challenges and to help take advantage of the opportunities we hope tomorrow presents.

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anchor: communities

category: company_news

Committing to keep you connected (virtually, of course)

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and many more questions than answers. Things are uncertain, and moving so quickly that it’s hard to keep track.

At Google Fiber, we don’t have the answers to the big questions facing us. But we know that a lot of experts are working to find them, and we’re thankful to the scientists, doctors and nurses, public health experts, government officials and nonprofit organizations working day and night to address the global pandemic of COVID-19.

We also know this: in times like this, connections matter. Possibly — probably — more than at any other time. We believe internet service is always critical to people and communities. In times of crisis, internet service is an even more critical lifeline.

We also feel a deep responsibility to do whatever we can to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our Fiber communities. So, we’re closing our Fiber retail spaces and discontinuing outbound sales processes until this crisis abates. We’ll continue to install service for new customers as long as it’s safe and we’re able to do so, and we’ll do everything we can to repair and maintain our network for customers who are relying on it, and on us.

We’ve never had data caps or late fees, and we’ve committed to making sure anyone who is financially impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will be able to continue their Google Fiber service during this difficult time.

Other internet service providers have also taken steps to extend a hand to their customers at this time, and we thank them for those decisions. We’re all in this together.

All of us must stay connected to information about our countries and communities. To expert advice. To our employers and educational institutions. To telehealth networks to take care of ourselves and relieve the burden on physical clinics and hospitals. And to entertainment to make a tense time more bearable.

And, of course and as always, to each other.

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category: company_news

Committing to keep you connected (virtually, of course)

There’s a lot going on in the world right now, and many more questions than answers. Things are uncertain, and moving so quickly that it’s hard to keep track.

At Google Fiber, we don’t have the answers to the big questions facing us. But we know that a lot of experts are working to find them, and we’re thankful to the scientists, doctors and nurses, public health experts, government officials and nonprofit organizations working day and night to address the global pandemic of COVID-19.

We also know this: in times like this, connections matter. Possibly — probably — more than at any other time. We believe internet service is always critical to people and communities. In times of crisis, internet service is an even more critical lifeline.

We also feel a deep responsibility to do whatever we can to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our Fiber communities. So, we’re closing our Fiber retail spaces and discontinuing outbound sales processes until this crisis abates. We’ll continue to install service for new customers as long as it’s safe and we’re able to do so, and we’ll do everything we can to repair and maintain our network for customers who are relying on it, and on us.

We’ve never had data caps or late fees, and we’ve committed to making sure anyone who is financially impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak will be able to continue their Google Fiber service during this difficult time.

Other internet service providers have also taken steps to extend a hand to their customers at this time, and we thank them for those decisions. We’re all in this together.

All of us must stay connected to information about our countries and communities. To expert advice. To our employers and educational institutions. To telehealth networks to take care of ourselves and relieve the burden on physical clinics and hospitals. And to entertainment to make a tense time more bearable.

And, of course and as always, to each other.

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category: company_news

How three women are changing the game—literally

It’s Women’s History Month and we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the incredible work that women are doing in the tech and gaming industry. From creating innovative new video games to teaching the next generation of coders, women are doing incredible things in these traditionally male-dominated fields.

The three women below inspire us every day with the work they are doing in our Google Fiber cities. They remind us why we do what we do — connect people to the things that matter to them. Find out what drives them in their own words (and if you want to learn even more about these superstars, follow us on Twitter and Facebook).



Elizabeth Schulte
Salt Lake City, Utah

Elizabeth is an interactive designer and digital media mentor at Spy Hop Productions. She teaches teens how to create video games.


Having women on a game creation team adds a more robust perspective. If every member of the team looks the same and acts the same, you’re going to get the same old answers. But by diversifying teams, we can get fresh perspectives to the questions asked and maybe even get new solutions to old problems. Females are half the population; we should represent a similar number in games creation.

To help support their girls’ interests in STEM, I’d give parents this advice: See teens where they are. Give them the tools to be successful. Celebrate the positive steps that they make. Let them fail in a safe environment; let them try to fix problems on their own first. Nudge them toward the solution; everything is an opportunity to learn.


Daisy Magnus-Aryitey
Durham, North Carolina

Daisy is a software engineer and the Director of Programs at Code the Dream. She wrote her very first line of code as a student with the organization. Now, she’s working to show other women that they belong in tech, too.


I don’t think being a woman necessarily made it more difficult to break into the field, but it does make it hard to advance in the field — to move into a leadership role. As a woman, and especially as a woman of color, you definitely have to be a vocal advocate for yourself.

I think the best way to show girls that they belong in STEM fields is to show them women who are in tech. It’s not enough to simply say that this is a field for everyone, and it’s not enough to celebrate a small number of women in tech that are based in New York City or the Bay Area. We need girls to see women in their own cities and communities who are working as software engineers.


Athena
Austin, Texas

Athena is a live streamer — meaning she plays video games with people watching her online, specifically on Twitch, for a living. She started gaming at 7 years old, and had no idea that it would turn into her career.


As a game-streaming woman, I did encounter a number of challenges early on. Initially, the major criticism was that my success was not attributed to hard work and providing entertaining content, but solely due to my gender. Over time, that criticism faded somewhat as my Rocket League community grew.

The impact I am able to have on the lives of the people in my community is my favorite part of what I do. If I can make one person smile or laugh or forget a tough time they are going through, even if only for a couple minutes, it’s all worth it.

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(Re-)Introducing Google Fiber Webpass


Last week, we shared the news that Google Fiber Webpass is now available in Nashville, joining Austin as the second city where customers can get the best of both Google Fiber and Google Fiber Webpass. Today, Webpass is excited to announce that we’re officially becoming Google Fiber Webpass in all our cities — from Seattle to Miami!


From now on, whether you’re in San Diego or San Francisco, Denver or Chicago, you’ll see the Google Fiber Webpass name whenever you are looking for truly fast, reliable internet. Google Fiber Webpass leverages point-to-point wireless technologies to quickly serve customers in apartments and condos in high density areas, which makes us a great fit for residents in the dynamic and growing cities we serve. 


Rolling out our new name and branding is another step in bringing together the best parts of both Google Fiber and Webpass — building on our shared mission of connecting more people to reliable, customer-friendly, high-speed Internet. So, while the new name doesn’t mean Google Fiber’s fiber-to-the-home service is expanding to any of our Google Fiber Webpass cities, it does mean that we’re one step closer to providing customers in all of our cities a more integrated Google Fiber and Webpass experience! We’re working as one big team to continue to make sure our customers have a great experience, regardless of where they are and how they get their Internet. 

Thank you to all of our Google Fiber Webpass customers across the country — we’re excited to continue serving all of you, and we’re looking forward to connecting many, many more happy Google Fiber Webpass customers.

Posted by Brien Bell, Head of Webpass




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author: Brien Bell

title: Head of Webpass

category: company_news

Watch This Way: Find your Streaming Soulmate

We hope you love the fourth installment in our series Watch This Way, aimed at making watching TV over the Internet easier. If you missed the earlier editions, you can find them here.


There are a lot of fish in the sea when it comes to watching TV over your Internet (“fish” meaning “streaming services,” in this case). But sometimes, it can feel like there’s something out there for everybody except for you. No matter how eclectic your tastes are, there is an option out there that will make your heart leap. (Plus, having gigabit Internet makes it super easy to take advantage of watching TV over the Internet.) Our handy matchmaking guide below will help you find your perfect match so that you can snuggle in and watch your version of romantic TV and movies (whether that’s a Hallmark movie or classic horror).

If you are a(n). . .

💓 Anglophile who’s a diehard sports fan, meet your matches: fuboTV, ESPN+, BritBox.fuboTV and ESPN+ both let you watch live sports all day, every day. With ESPN+, you can also watch game replays and highlights. Watch your favorite British TV shows whenever you want over BritBox — accents and dry humor included. 

💓 Prime-time fan who live tweets reality shows, meet your matches: YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live TV, Philo, SlingTV.With these you can watch live TV — that includes sports, local news, prime time shows, and yes … reality TV, all in real time. 

💓 Cricket fan with a passion for horror and old cartoons, meet your matches: WillowTV (for cricket), Shudder (for horror), Boomerang (for old cartoons).See? There really is something out there for everyone. Sometimes, even multiple somethings.

💓 Pop culture-loving anime-enthusiast, meet your matches: Netflix, Crunchyroll.Turns out, you can’t have FOMO when you can watch the hottest new shows on demand with Netflix. And with Crunchyroll, you can watch anime all day, even the latest episode of your favorite series just one hour after it airs in Japan. どういたしまして (Dōitashimashite - you’re welcome).

💓 Wrestling superfan who can quote Disney movies, meet the whole package: WWE TV, Disney+.Wrestling in the day, Disney movies at night. Or vice versa.

💓 For the Bollywood aficionado: HotStar.Not only can you catch your favorite Indian movies, but you can also start watching HotStar’s original content, from talk shows to comedies.

💓 Top-notch cinematography and exclusive content lovers, meet your matches: Starz, Showtime, and HBO Now You won’t just watch any series — they have to be award-winning (and nominated) with serious budgets behind them. (CGI dragons, anyone?) These will keep you up on all the exquisite, exclusive content you know and love to talk about.

💓 Free spirit who also lives for getting stuff for free, meet your matches: Pluto TV, Stirr, tubi, Shout Factory TV.You read that correctly: Free. Watch live TV with PlutoTV and watch TV shows and movies on demand with tubi, all without paying a dime … and watch mindbenders from the ’50s, cult films from the ’80s, and other eclectic works of art with Shout Factory TV (which is also free).

If you’ve read through this entire list and didn’t see something to make you swipe right, fear not — there’s not only still hope, there’s still a lot of hope. There are many other amazing, niche streaming platforms out there, waiting to find their beloved viewers … but, unlike your newfound love, we had to end this blog somewhere.

*All services listed are subject to their own prices, terms, and conditions. Google Fiber is not responsible for these offerings and does not control any aspect of the referenced services.

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category: product_news

Available now! Google Fiber Webpass in Music City

In August, we launched Google Fiber Webpass in Austin, marking the first time we’ve offered both Google Fiber and Google Fiber Webpass in the same city. Today, we’re happy to let you know that Google Fiber Webpass has joined yet another Fiber city -- Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville’s growth has been explosive over the past decade. In fact, the residential population downtown has grown by 90% since 2012, with 12,000-plus new downtown residents. That number is expected to grow to over 20,000 in the next three years, and that growth is mirrored across the city, with new condos and apartments popping up in many neighborhoods.

Google Fiber Webpass is designed to meet that need, using a fixed point-to-point wireless technology to provide internet speeds up to 1 Gig without the need for significant construction work, which will allow us to deliver speedy Internet to condos and apartment residents faster than we ever could before. Eligible residents can sign up today on the Google Fiber website .We’re expanding to new buildings quickly. To help us bring Google Fiber Webpass gig service to your apartment or condo building, check out webpass.net/nashville.

We know that Google Fiber Webpass and Nashville are a perfect match. We look forward to helping you put your Gig to good use, whether that's listening to the latest music, streaming the Titans or Predators game, playing your own games, or getting to work in your own home.

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Posted by Brien Bell, Head of Webpass

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author: Brien Bell

title: Head of Webpass

category: city_news

videourl: https://storage.googleapis.com/fiber/blog/webpass-nashville.mp4