updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Switch to flip 'later this year'
Google Fiber's deployment in Austin, Texas has been delayed several months, Google tells local NBC affiliate KXAN. Signups for Austin residents will only open this summer, while the service itself is due to go live "later this year." When Google announced that Fiber was coming to Austin a year ago, it said it had hoped to connect people by mid-2014, after signups in January.
The issue appears to involve securing permits for digging and installing new fiber links where necessary. So far the company has only secured permits for a small section of south Austin, the area below Lady Bird Lake (better known as Town Lake). That would theoretically leave downtown and north Austin without Fiber, which is unlikely given agreements Google has signed with downtown condominiums and various institutions. Google's own Austin offices are located in the northwest.
Other ISPs operating in Austin have been racing to be more competitive. Of these, only Grande Communications is actually offering a 1Gbps tier on par with Google. AT&T is currently offering speeds up to 300Mbps, but plans to upgrade to 1Gbps by the end of the year. Time Warner has promised to upgrade to 300Mbps by this summer, and will also be offering lower tiers more modest speed boosts, for instance bumping 15Mbps users up to 50Mbps. Only Austin residents will see the speed improvements in the foreseeable future.