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Austinites outraged as Google Fiber tears up Texas capital

Not so smug about that gigabit pipeline now, are we?

Residents of Austin, TX may be regretting the decision to bring Google Fiber to the city. The Austin American Statesman says that last year, 254 complaints were filed with the city over problems related to construction of the network.

The complaints include reports of landscape and property damage caused by crews tasked with laying cable for the Fiber network.

One such incident was an October flood which, residents say, was caused when contractors laying Fiber cables blocked off storm drains. The resulting flood is said to have caused an estimated $760,000 in damages.

The Statesman report notes that other homeowners have complained of trespassing and blocked driveways.

Austin became the third US city (behind Kansas City, Missouri and Provo, Utah) to get Google fiber service when the network launched in 2014. The Fiber service offers customers up to 1Gbps speeds and also includes the option to add TV service.

The high-speed service comes at a cost in Austin, as Google has to lay thousands of miles of cable around the city, occasionally causing headaches for homeowners who live near the construction zones.

Google told The Register "our construction hotline is open 24/7, and we welcome questions, concerns and invitations to neighborhood meetings and events."

The report comes as Google continues to expand the number of cities with Fiber service in the US. The Chocolate Factory recently announced plans to offer Fiber for the metro areas in and around Louisville, Kentucky and Huntsville, Alabama. Other cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Phoenix, are being considered as potential Fiber cities.

Not every city should expect to see construction to the extent of Austin, as some of the host cities (Provo and Huntsville, for example) are selling or leasing their existing (or planned) municipal fiber networks to Google. ®

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