Google to expand high-speed Internet/TV service to Austin, Texas

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 Tue Apr 9, 2013 1:47pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 9 (Reuters) - Google Inc is bringing its high-speed Internet and television service to Austin, Texas, the first move to expand the Google Fiber service beyond its initial location in Kansas City introduced last year.

Google plans to begin connecting homes in Austin by the middle of 2014, the company said in a post on its official blog on Tuesday.

As in Kansas City, Missouri, consumers in Austin will be able to get standalone Gigabit Internet service, which Google says is 100 times faster than today's average broadband performance, or a bundle that includes nearly 200 high-definition television channels. Pricing in Austin is still to be determined, Google said.

Google Fiber's ultra high-speed connections and television offerings are aimed at surpassing those of current providers, such as cable and telecommunications companies, including Time Warner Cable Inc.

Google is scheduled to hold a news conference in Austin providing more details later on Tuesday.

Shares of Google rose $4.29, or less than 1 percent, at $779.14, in midday trading on Tuesday.

Google, the world's No. 1 Internet search engine, launched its first Google Fiber service in Kansas City in November. The company initially billed the service as a test project to spur development of new Web services and technology but now says it views Google Fiber as a viable business.

Google said it will also offer Austin residents free Internet service, at a slower 5 megabit per second rate for 7 years, provided they pay a one-time construction fee that was not specified. In Kansas City, the fee is $300.

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