The latest news from the Fiber team
Digital Inclusion Fellowship: Year 1 Results & Toolkit
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Guest post from Ruben Campillo, former Digital Inclusion Fellow, currently the Digital Inclusion Outreach & Community Engagement Manager, Knight School of Communication, Queens University of Charlotte.
The first time I went online was in the fall of 1995. A librarian at the main branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library taught me to type website addresses into the browser. I was amazed by the infinite scope of information at my fingertips. That day I joined the burgeoning information revolution and the internet became part of my life as a student, professional and father. In all these roles I have witnessed the power of technology to improve people’s lives.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t able to benefit from transformational digital tools and skills. More than 60 million Americans don’t use the internet in the home. In my city, Charlotte, NC, 28% of residents don’t have internet access in the home. These families are put at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job, completing homework and communicating with relatives. I wanted to help address this disparity, so I went back to where it all started for me -- the library.
I have spent the last year working as a Digital Inclusion Fellow at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. The fellowship is a program facilitated by the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), in partnership with Google Fiber. This first-ever fellowship to address the digital divide embedded 16 community leaders into local organizations that are working to close the digital divide. Collectively, we helped our host organizations address barriers to widespread internet adoption, such as awareness of the internet’s importance, digital literacy and access to affordable devices.
I became a Digital Inclusion Fellow to help shape how our city embraces new technology, while ensuring that our entire community benefits. Thankfully, I was joined by others across the city who feel the same way. The library was one of the key members in developing the City of Charlotte’s first Digital Inclusion Task Force, along with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, Goodwill Industries, the Knight School of Communication and Mecklenburg County. This group of dedicated individuals and organizations is continuing to meet the challenge of making Charlotte a more digitally inclusive city.
The library, which has
and serves around 1.1 million people, has already been a steward for digital inclusion for two decades in Charlotte. I joined the library’s leadership team to scale programming, sustainably. We mapped internet adoption in Charlotte and focused our resources on the least connected communities.
We piloted classes in these digitally divided communities, teaching residents basic computing skills. The course we developed, DigitLit101, has several modules, including email and job searching. To support our 1:1 training format, we trained 71 library staffers and dozens of volunteers to become DigitLit101 instructors. We also partnered with community based organizations, such as the YMCA, to help them incorporate DigitLit101 into their programming and scale our impact. Overall, this course has served 183 students in seven library branches in both English and Spanish.
The other Fellows were busy in their cities as well. Collectively, we trained 550 people per month and reached an estimated 1 million people with awareness campaigns about the importance of the Internet.
You can read case studies from my city, Charlotte, as well as Nashville and Austin in the
Digital Inclusion Toolkit
that launched today. The toolkit highlights some of the successes and challenges Fellows and host organizations have encountered throughout the first year. Additionally, the toolkit includes best practices in volunteer recruitment, classroom logistics, digital literacy, and partnership development. It’s a great resource for organizations looking to join the digital inclusion movement.
I am passionate about social justice and I believe that access to reliable, affordable internet access at home can have a transformative effect in people's lives. Our first fellowship year was a success, but we have more work to do.
new Fellows in 11 cities are taking up this challenge for the coming year. As they begin their work, I’m reminded that joining the information revolution can start with something as simple as teaching someone how to use a web browser at their local library.
Posted by Ruben Campillo, former Digital Inclusion Fellow
Connecting more small businesses to superfast Internet
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
We’ve always believed that small businesses can do big things with superfast Internet. In 2014, we
our Early Access program to bring faster speeds to businesses in our Fiber cities. Since then, we’ve been inspired by what these businesses have been able to do. From a media company that now conducts virtual jam sessions to a coffee house that livestreams their community events, we’ve seen many
unlock new possibilities
with a speedy, reliable connection.
At the same time, we know that businesses come in different shapes and sizes. They have varying needs and would like the flexibility to choose a plan that best fits their needs. That’s why we’re transitioning from the Early Access program and introducing three new plans.
Small businesses in all of our Fiber cities will now be able to pick from speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 1000 Mbps. We’ve also increased the number of static IP addresses available to a business—up to 13. And we continue to be committed to providing fast, reliable service tailored to the needs of small businesses. Our
is available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Eligible small businesses in Charlotte can now
for one of our new plans. Businesses everywhere can
check their address
and join our list to be among the first to know when we’re available in their area.
Eligible small businesses in Kansas City, Provo, Austin, and Nashville will have until July 31st to sign up under the Early Access program. Beginning August 1, 2016, they’ll be able to choose from one of our new plans or keep their Early Access plan and pricing for a full year.
We can’t wait to see what small businesses will do next with superfast Internet.
Posted by John Shriver-Blake, Product Manager, Google Fiber
Launching Google Fiber signups in Charlotte
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
From the day we
our plans to come to Charlotte, residents and businesses across the city have embraced the possibilities of high-speed, abundant connectivity. Charlotte is already a hub for business and ingenuity—and superfast Internet has the potential to unlock a new chapter of innovation across the Queen City.
Today, we’re launching sign-ups for residents and businesses in Charlotte, starting in the Highland Creek neighborhood. Residents in Highland Creek will be able to sign up for one of
: Fiber 1000 + TV, Fiber 1000, and Fiber 100, with the option to add
to any plan. Eligible small businesses can sign up for
one of three
new business offerings, available for the first time in any city. And all Charlotteans can join us at the newly-opened
Charlotte Fiber Space
at in the historic Philip Carey Building to take Google Fiber Internet and TV for a spin.
Charlotte residents can pick from three speedy plans
It will take time, but we’re working hard to bring Fiber to as many neighborhoods as possible in Charlotte. We’ll be opening
for signups as we complete network construction in those areas. Keep in mind, residents will have a limited amount of time to sign up—this helps us to focus resources before we move on the next area. You can track progress for all areas on our website. And if you live in an apartment building, check out our
to see if your building on track to get Fiber.
Charlotte's new installer vans feature artwork by local artist Jason Gammon
As we connect Charlotte to Google Fiber, we’re also working to bring faster speeds to families who may not be online today. We’ll be introducing a Broadband plan that offers 25 Mbps for $15 a month to some of the most digitally divided areas that we serve, determined using data from the U.S. Census and Federal Communications Commission. We'll also be
offering gigabit Internet
at no cost to residents in select public and affordable housing buildings. These programs will build on existing investments, like our support of
digital inclusion fellows
at the Urban League, Charlotte Mecklenburg Housing Partnership, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.
From Charlotte’s emerging startups to families at home, our goal is to provide abundant access to all of Charlotte—we’re just getting started.
Posted by Mary Ellen Player, City Manager, Google Fiber Charlotte
Exploring Dallas for Google Fiber
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
For the past three years, Texas has been a home to Google Fiber. Whether we’re connecting families and businesses to superfast Internet in Austin, or building over 4,000 miles of fiber in
, we’re working daily to boost speeds across the Lone Star state. And starting today, we’re exploring the possibility of bringing Google Fiber to Dallas as well.
If we’re able to bring Google Fiber to Dallas, it will mean more than a reliable connection. It will mean new ways for families to
stay in touch
stream their favorite shows
, and new opportunities for businesses—especially businesses in Dallas’ budding tech sector—to grow and be more productive. With Fiber, businesses can download files in seconds rather than hours, communicate faster with customers, and much more. Dallas is already one of the
best cities to work in tech
. Google Fiber will help Dallas attract even more tech talent, and push the city further toward the future.
Bringing Google Fiber to Dallas would be a huge undertaking, so we want to make sure we’re prepared. Working alongside Mayor Mike Rawlings and local leaders, we’ll use our Fiber
to learn more about local topography, existing infrastructure, and other factors that may impact construction. Building a fiber optic network through a dense and complex urban environment like Dallas is challenging—these discussions will help us deploy our network efficiently and responsibly.
We look forward to working with Dallas’s leaders as we explore bringing Fiber to their city. It’s still early days, but we’ll keep residents updated as we approach our decision. To receive the latest news on Google Fiber, head to google.com/fiber and sign up for updates.
Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, Director of Expansion, Google Fiber
House Hunters: Fiber Edition
Monday, June 13, 2016
Ed. Note: Today, we have a guest post from Heather Burnett Gold, President of the Fiber to the Home Council Americas, and Michael Render, Principal and Founder of RVA, LLC. They are sharing the findings of a
new research report
on how access to ultrafast Internet can boost the value of multi-family homes.
There are a slew of successful TV shows that follow people who are searching for a new home. Each show follows the same formula: seekers must decide between a few properties, debating the merits of various amenities, neighborhoods, and price points. Savvy producers have discovered we love to see people navigate the complex process of deciding where to live.
One factor that is increasingly having an impact on those decisions: access to ultra-high speed, reliable broadband. We have concrete data that shows access to fiber
the value of single family homes. But what about the almost 30 percent of people in the US, both renters and owners, who live in multifamily housing?
a new study
the Fiber to the Home Council is releasing today, we find fast and reliable broadband is now rated the single most important amenity for multiple dwelling units (MDUs). In addition to finding ultra-high speed broadband to be more important than a pool, 24-hour security monitoring, covered parking, gym access and even cable TV, these results also show that MDU residents believe fiber-based broadband is significantly faster and more reliable than other technologies.
Our research also shows that MDU residents are willing to pay more to live where there’s fiber. People were willing to pay 2.8 percent more to purchase a condo or apartment with access to fiber optic service (based on a $300,000 home). For renters, it’s even more important. Respondents were willing to pay a premium of 8 percent (based on a $1000 monthly rent) for access to fiber. People who live in MDUs also want access to multiple providers, ranking provider choice as 6 out of 12 possible amenities.
While these numbers are based on all types of fiber-to-the-home, based on our other research and anecdotal evidence, values could be even higher for gigabit fiber service.
What do higher rental and sales values mean to MDU owners and operators? A better bottom line. Using data from the National Apartment Association, we estimate fiber can add 11 percent in net income per average apartment unit. And our findings show that fiber access increases resident satisfaction and appears to reduce churn, helping building owners and operators maintain high levels of occupancy and provide a quality living environment.
We’re excited about this study, which adds to the
that fiber improves our communities. And we’re looking forward to continuing to work with MDU owners and operators in different ways in the quest to connect:
Marketing: Fiber providers throughout the country—including Google Fiber—should continue to work with MDUs to advertise fiber to attract new residents. (Our findings show fiber is a word of mouth technology that can attract residents to properties.)
Access: MDU owners can assist by making buildings accessible while the fiber industry continues to make advancements in deployment methods and technologies that reduce any potential disruptions to residents.
Education: We at the Council will continue to work with our partners to promote the value of a future-proof technology that increases the attractiveness of properties in an increasingly competitive housing market.
Heather Burnett Gold is President & CEO of the FTTH Council Americas and Michael Render is Principal & Founder of RVA, LLC, Market Research and Consulting
Bringing Google Cast to Fiber TV: a new way to access thousands of apps
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
From channel surfing to streaming, there are more ways than ever to find and enjoy the entertainment you love. We want to help you access all of your favorite shows, movies, music, and more. So starting today, we’ll be adding
—the same technology behind
—right into your Fiber TV Box.
Google Cast gives you access to thousands of apps, right on your TV screen. That means you can seamlessly enjoy the best of online entertainment and TV without changing inputs. At the click of a button, you can watch the Game of Thrones premiere on HBO, then head to Netflix for the latest season of House of Cards. You can DJ your party with Pandora, then scroll through pictures with friends using Google Photos. You can watch and listen to everything you love, whenever you want.
Casting is easy. Just connect your compatible mobile device or laptop to your Fiber Wi-Fi, then tap the Cast button from the apps you already know and love to send what you’re viewing to your TV. And since Fiber TV comes with Google Cast technology built-in, no additional equipment or setup is needed.
Over the coming weeks, we'll start rolling out Google Cast on Fiber TV to all our TV subscribers. You can learn more at our
. Get ready for more season premieres, movie screenings, karaoke nights and more—all on your big screen.
Posted by Jared Nusinoff, Product Manager, Google Fiber
Digital Inclusion Fellowship applications open for second year
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Last year, we introduced the
Digital Inclusion Fellowship
, and paired fellows with community organizations to help build digital inclusion programs in Google Fiber cities. From leading digital literacy courses to training volunteers, fellows have been hard at work over the past 9 months helping to close the digital divide in their communities. Just last month,
, a fellow at the Nashville Public Library, led computer basics courses for 76 people, and trained 7 volunteers who can now help run courses of their own. We want more fellows like Susan to help people take advantage of the Web.
Today, in partnership with the
Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)
for the second year of the Digital Inclusion Fellowship. 22 fellowship positions are now available in community based organizations across 11 cities, including 3 new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA. Much like our
commitment and affordable
offering, this fellowship is a long-term investment in the cities we work with. As the lead sponsor, Google Fiber will again contribute more than $1 million to help administer the fellowship. Our current fellows have reached thousands of people lacking Internet access, trained hundreds of volunteers, and received positive feedback from community members. And with the help of NTEN, we hope to continue our progress.
Applications are now open for 22 fellowship positions in community based organizations across 11 cities, including three new cities: Portland, OR, San Antonio, TX, and San Francisco, CA.
As we expand the fellowship into its second year, we’re sharpening the focus on digital literacy. Participants will work on digital literacy projects, and help to train adults on a variety of computer skills. Some fellows will work on expanding their Hosts’ current digital literacy courses, or building new programs with community partners. In addition to organizations that specialize in digital inclusion, fellows will also be hosted by libraries, adult literacy organizations, and organizations that provide affordable housing. And, like last year, all fellows will attend a week long orientation program, where they’ll be trained on digital literacy best practices and work to develop leadership skills.
To join the growing community of digital inclusion practitioners,
apply to the fellowship
now through May 13, 2016.
Posted by Andrew Bentley, Digital Inclusion Program Manager, Google Fiber
Modernization of the FCC's Lifeline Program: a path to improving broadband access
Friday, April 01, 2016
Broadband access truly makes a difference in people’s lives, bringing economic, social, and educational opportunities to those who are online. Yet
more than a third
of Americans still do not subscribe to home broadband, while half of the nation’s households in the lowest income tier do not subscribe. For many families, affordability remains one of the primary barriers to getting online at home.
Improving access to affordable broadband has always been part of Google Fiber’s DNA—our
digital inclusion efforts
community impact work
are a central part of our ongoing efforts to help bring fast Internet to more people. Regardless of income, everyone should be able to experience the benefits of high speed connectivity.
Yesterday, the FCC adopted its Lifeline modernization order, an essential move to encouraging broadband adoption nationwide. Until now, Lifeline has provided funds to enable providers to deliver voice service to consumers at affordable rates. When the Lifeline Assistance Program was established in 1985, high speed broadband to homes didn’t exist. But much has changed since 1985—while
voice service remains important
, increasingly people use their broadband connection as a critical means of communication. As FCC Chairman Wheeler said, “... at a time when our economy and lives are increasingly moving online and millions of Americans remain offline, it doesn’t make sense for Lifeline to remain focused only on 20th century voice service.”
For the first time, low-income consumers can apply the $9.25 Lifeline subsidy to lower the cost of qualifying broadband plans. Now consumers have the opportunity to use their benefit to reduce the cost of subscribing to broadband Internet—not just voice service—so people can choose the connectivity services that meet their needs.
Importantly, the FCC’s reforms also shift the responsibility for determining consumer eligibility out of the hands of the carriers that currently receive subsidies and to a National Eligibility Verifier. As described in the FCC’s statements, the independent third party verifier will make eligibility determinations using data from existing trusted programs such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), streamlining the income verification process. Shifting eligibility determinations away from the service provider has two benefits. First, subscribers can take their benefits with them to a different provider or new address, leading to more consumer choice. Second, because the eligibility determination is based on existing trusted data, it can better protect consumer privacy and security and bring more dignity to the process.
Families with low incomes increasingly choose not to purchase home broadband because it just isn’t affordable—these and many of the other changes that the FCC has voted on go a long way to address this critical problem.
Posted by Staci Pies, Senior Policy Counsel
Exploring 1 billion times faster speeds
Friday, April 01, 2016
Nearly 6 years ago, we started Google Fiber with the goal of making the web faster and better for everyone. We began with a fiber to the home solution delivering symmetrical gigabit speeds. The impact has been significant - on people, businesses and local economies. The days of loading bars, pixelated video streams and dropped Hangouts are now a thing of the past for many people and businesses in our Fiber cities.
While gigabit speeds are fast, we have come across an application where 1,000 Mbps is actually quite slow. Terribly slow. Research organizations that wish to remain anonymous have been working on an application that would enable the teleportation of a 160 pound person a distance of 60 miles in 1.2 seconds. This application requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth, because a 160-pound person represents a vast amount of data.
How much data? Our partners developed a compression algorithm that allows us to compress matter with only imperceptible levels of quality degradation. As one of the engineers put it:
“If 1 GigaQuad (GQ) = 109 = 1,000,000,000 Quads, where one quad is 2 GiB or 8 x (2 x 109) x (109 x 109) = 1.6 x 1028 bits, what speeds would we need to send an animal, object, or person 60 miles in under 1.2 seconds?”
They found that at 1 Gbps, it would take 1.6 x 1028 / 109 = 1.6 x 1019 seconds. This means that we need speeds that are 10^9 or 1 billion times faster than gigabit speeds.
Here’s how it might look:
To be clear, we are not a teleportation company. Nor do we intend to become one. We simply want to provide the data transfer speeds required to enable teleportation. The team will be tackling a number of unique scientific challenges – not only figuring out how to break down physical objects into discrete packets of data, but determining how to leverage fiber optic technology to transmit that data across distances at incredible speeds. Innovating on fiber optic infrastructure and moving data really fast is something we are deeply passionate about.
Our partners are using the quantum entanglement of the photons that move through our network to make teleportation happen, which is only possible on a pure fiber optic network. Clearly gigabit speeds are too slow. Even on a pure fiber network with gigaquad transfer rates, it would take weeks to transmit uncompressed physical data a few miles. We want these transfers to be complete in under 1.2 seconds.
The potential benefits of teleportation are tremendous. Imagine a world where you could live anywhere and commute instantly. Imagine traffic and urban congestion becoming a thing of the past. That's what teleportation can do: allow us to live gently and efficiently, spending less energy on getting from place to place, and more on the people and projects that matter.
We will continue to not have data caps – the last thing we want is for our subscribers to be trapped in the Internet because they ran out of data.
Want to see how teleportation might look for you? Use our
to calculate how far you’ll be able to go, and how long it will take.
This is a massive challenge. And an important one. We are thrilled to help advance teleportation science to create a world in which distance and travel time will not constrain our physical presence.
Posted by Pál Takácsi, Director of Engineering
Introducing Fiber Phone
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Whether it’s calling mom or ordering take-out, we rely on our phones to help reach the people and things that matter. And while mobile phones have pushed us toward the future, home phone service is still important to
. Landlines can be familiar, reliable and provide high-quality service, but the technology hasn’t always kept up. That’s why today, we’re introducing
as a new option to help you stay connected wherever you are.
Familiar features, improved
Fiber Phone is meant to give you everything you want from a home phone service, plus a lot more. For $10/month, you get unlimited local and nationwide calling, and the same affordable rates as
for international calls. You can keep your old phone number, or pick a new one. You can use call waiting, caller ID, and 911 services just as easily as you could before. Fiber Phone can also make it easier to access your voicemail—the service will transcribe your voice messages for you and then send as a text or email.
Fiber Phone includes a Fiber Phone box that works with the phones you already own. Handset not included.
Stay connected, no matter where you are
Fiber Phone can help you make the most of your home phone—even when you’re not at home. Adding Fiber Phone means getting access on the road, in the office, or wherever you are. Your Fiber Phone number lives in the cloud, which means that you can use it on almost any phone, tablet or laptop. It can ring your landline when you’re home, or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go.
We’ll be introducing Fiber Phone in a few areas to start. Over time, we’ll roll out Fiber Phone as an option to residential customers in all of our Fiber cities. Once we bring the service to your area, you can sign up and get the service through a simple installation process. To stay updated on the latest,
sign up here
Posted by John Shriver-Blake, Product Manager, Google Fiber
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