Google Fiber Bets Big on Atlanta

Despite the recent corporate upheaval at Google Fiber, which included a halt on its expansion into nearly a dozen cities, the tech giant has confirmed that the changes won’t impact its continued rollout in Atlanta.

According to Fabiola Charles Stokes, Google Fiber’s community impact director, the city’s reputation as a burgeoning tech center was a draw from the start of their multi-city outreach. “There were a ton of opportunities,” she noted. “It’s a research and business rich environment. Even the film industry is booming here. We knew the market would really benefit from having fast service.”

The company’s ongoing investment in its Atlanta infrastructure makes good business sense, even beyond the immediate growth of the city’s tech sector. By partnering with a mix of business leaders, city officials, and non-profit groups, Google Fiber is engaging diverse stakeholders to close the digital divide. Shortly after Google Fiber’s launch announcement in January 2015, the Mayor’s office made a priority of providing access and building digital literacy for under-served communities throughout the greater metro area.

“In this digital age when you can apply for a job, take a course, and pay your bills online,” said Christina Cruz-Benton, a spokesperson for the Mayor’s office. “The Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.”

When Google Fiber began serving customers in August 2016, Stokes noted, it kicked off a number of programs tied to individuals and community groups, as well as small business owners.

“One of the cornerstones of our outreach in all our cities is Google Fiber’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship program,” Stokes said. “We partner with NTEN, an organization of non-profit technology professionals, and bring mid-career technologists to non-profit organizations and faith-based institutions, to help build out sustainable digital inclusion programming, and deliver computer skills training.”

Google Fiber trains the Fellows in delivery and methodology, pairs them to host organizations with deep roots in the communities, and pays them a salary for a year’s commitment. Once situated with their hosts, Fellows set up public programs and build training classes to teach participants how to leverage online resources.

The Atlanta program has just launched its third cohort of Fellows. So far, nearly 60,000 community participants have logged over 19,000 hours of free digital literacy instruction. Fellows have also trained more than 500 volunteers and staff from partner organizations, in order to ensure local programs are sustained long past the completion of their tenures.

One of Google Fiber’s large-scale accomplishments is taking place in recreation centers across the city. In partnership with Atlanta’s Parks and Recreation department, Fiber has refurbished 10 computer labs and launched training programs. Named Centers of Hope, these digital hubs are in communities where access has been limited or non-existent.

Cruz-Benton understands the far-reaching implications of the hubs, and suggests that more are on the way: “Partnerships, like the one with Google and the tech labs they’ve created, definitely serves as an important conduit for preparing our young people for the many tech jobs that are right here in the City of Atlanta.”

Regardless of its own growing pains, it appears that Google Fiber is betting on Atlanta; and in committing to inclusive access and literacy, the city is taking that to the bank.

Comments

9 Responses to “Google Fiber Bets Big on Atlanta”

August 24, 2017 at 6:06 am, Joe Atlanta said:

Would this before or after they goofed, invited a huge new segment/area this month and then had to cancel installations for all of them within two weeks? Face it, Google’s most successful product is “Google Graveyard” where popular products are canceled and new ones never fully get off the ground.

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August 24, 2017 at 8:13 am, Dave said:

Seeing is believing. They wired my building and put a Jack in my condo on March 6th. In the time since, they haven’t moved the three blocks it would take to give us service.

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August 24, 2017 at 9:28 am, Ed said:

I read this hoping to find an update on whether Google was going to restart their installation of service in Brookhaven. I didn’t find that. But a lot of us still had yards under repair from when their subcontractors ripped up our neighborhood last year.

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August 24, 2017 at 9:53 am, Ted said:

I was told that Sandy Springs residents shoul be getting google fiber by November of 2016. So far, I have not seen any signs of getting that 1Gbps fiber coming to my house. I am loosing patience now. So, I am planning to install AT & T soon. I am sure even google starts to offer their service it an’t gonna be good.

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August 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm, Matt Gardner said:

So many complaints, so much belly-aching, so much boo-hoo-hoo. Hey, Google – thank you for keeping Atlanta in your plans for your Fiber product! Thank you for adding competition in our city and hopefully forcing the (few) competitors to offer a better product and a better price! Thank you for taking on the cost and liability of this huge and expensive infrastructure project to lay fiber throughout Atlanta – the benefit, in the long run, we cannot even gauge right now! Keep up the good work. I look forward to trying your service when it’s ready. Cheers!

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August 24, 2017 at 2:48 pm, Bruce Mitchell-El said:

Over priced, not getting the speed promised.

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August 24, 2017 at 3:34 pm, Ed Parra said:

I’ve been waiting over a year for them to come by the Capital in Atlanta. I live down the street and still no updates on when Google fiber would be installed. I went went to the office in Midtown and asked. I gave up on waiting and got AT&T fiber recently. I wish Google didn’t hype it up so much and make me waste my time staying with Comcast until Google fiber came around.

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August 25, 2017 at 1:16 pm, David said:

I’ve got Fiber, but understand the epic frustration others have. Google isn’t rolling anything out the way they’ve promised.
The speeds are worth it, and no Big Company shenanigans (like selling all your browsing data and giving it to law enforcement for a fee illegally), so I’d say it’s worth the wait but come on, Google! Get your act together!

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August 25, 2017 at 3:22 pm, Doubting Tomas said:

I shall believe it, when I see it.

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