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Google Networking The Internet

Google To Provide Free Internet For Public Housing Residents To All Fiber Markets 84

VentureBeat, an anonymous reader notes, reports that Google has announced it will expand on an earlier move to provide free internet service to poor Austin residents. Now, rather than for 4300 residents of housing provided by the Housing Authority of Austin, the company "has promised to expand that offering to every other current and future Google Fiber market. The move is part of U.S. President Obama's ConnectHome program, launched by the White House and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with the goal of bringing Internet connectivity to more school-aged children and families living in HUD-assisted housing in 27 communities across the country. ... Google promises the program will extend to all its Google Fiber cities."
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Google To Provide Free Internet For Public Housing Residents To All Fiber Markets

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  • No problem with some private charity, but won't these poor folk need some computers too?
    • They're not exactly expensive these days if you're not looking for, say, a gaming rig. $200 buys you something perfectly serviceable new, and obviously used PCs are widely available too.

      Plus Wifi tablets with a large enough screen for web browsing are available in the sub-$100 range.

      Not that it's a small amount for someone on a low income, but the cost of Internet provision was always going to be the bigger deal breaker than the one-off cost of obtaining a box that'll generally cost less than two month

      • They're not exactly expensive these days if you're not looking for, say, a gaming rig. $200 buys you something perfectly serviceable new, and obviously used PCs are widely available too.

        Doesn't matter. A few years ago, I came into possession of a stack of ex-corporate laptops. 10 or 15 of them. Sprinkled them around, for free, to some of my kids friends families who would otherwise not have a PC.
        Within a year, all but one were sold, stolen, pawned, or broken.
    • Most of those poor folk have an iPhone 5 or 6. If Google gives them a WiFi router they wont have to use any of their data plan. No, I'm not being a racist. My wife is going to nursing school and many of her classmates are in that situation and they all have new iPhones. My wife is grateful to have her Galaxy S2.
      • Most of those poor folk have an iPhone 5 or 6. If Google gives them a WiFi router they wont have to use any of their data plan. No, I'm not being a racist. My wife is going to nursing school and many of her classmates are in that situation and they all have new iPhones. My wife is grateful to have her Galaxy S2.

        Well, I'm not certain about the Racist part - are all poor peeps of some particular race? But that green envy color doesn't suit you.

        I have an iPhone 5. If some poor person has a 6, good for them. A phone or a computer is a silly thing to be jealous of.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 )

    5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds

    wasnt this kind of connectivity the sort of rate-limited and overpriced stuff the FCC railed against a few months ago? according to TFA there is a $300USD construction fee and 25 dollar monthly fee for this service...meaning Google is offering a nearly comcastic $50 per month for the first year experience of 5 mbps (waiving the construction fee and monthly fee in this case.)

    it sets a precedent for things like tiered service, not based on ones ability to pay, but based on your socio-economic status as wel

    • it sets a precedent for things like tiered service, not based on ones ability to pay, but based on your socio-economic status as well.

      Welcome to the world. I'm paying $62/mo for that level of service, by the way.

    • I'm confused. You're complaining that it's overpriced, but it's free. You're complaining that the speed is not based on ones ability to pay, but isn't it just the free tier? Do you not have the option to pay to upgrade? You complain about "being branded with poverty-net", but how would people know? Are they going to check the IP you're connecting from and link it up with your plan to see whether you're on the free service?
      • You complain about "being branded with poverty-net", but how would people know? Are they going to check the IP you're connecting from and link it up with your plan to see whether you're on the free service?

        They probably would. I'll bet Google will use it when considering what ads to serve to people.

        • by bjwest ( 14070 )

          You complain about "being branded with poverty-net", but how would people know? Are they going to check the IP you're connecting from and link it up with your plan to see whether you're on the free service?

          They probably would. I'll bet Google will use it when considering what ads to serve to people.

          Why shouldn't they? Why show an add for a Rolex to someone who can't even afford a Timex?

    • by LordSkippy ( 140884 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @10:13AM (#50124581)

      You misread the TFA. Google offers a 5Mbps plan with a $300 one time connection/construction fee, that can be paid for with $25 a month over one year. Afterwards, the connection is free for at least another six years. You can get the same deal in any area Google Fiber is offering service.

      5Mbps for $25/month for one year, and then $0/month for six years, not a crappy deal at all.

      The news here is that the deal Google Fiber struck with the City of Austin, which was to waive the $300 connection fee and provide 5Mbps for $0/month for 10 years to public housing residents, will now be offered in all the markets they are in or will enter.

      5Mbps for free for 10 years is definately not a crappy deal by an reasonable standard.

    • it's more than enough for wikipedia, google docs and access to information as well as a netflix stream. i have family on 5mbps comcast out in the boonies and after the peering deal with netflix it works better than my 50mbps time warner. same with my inlaws on optimum. they are under 10mbps but because netflix has their CDN inside the network it works great. paying $150 for those ridiculous internet speeds is like buying an SUV in the last decade. showing off your dick. netflix and everyone else streams at
    • wasnt this kind of connectivity the sort of rate-limited and overpriced stuff the FCC railed against a few months ago?

      How is free "overpriced"?

    • "wasnt this kind of connectivity the sort of rate-limited and overpriced stuff the FCC railed against a few months ago?"

      No, the FCC railed against putting substandard infrastructure in public housing so that residents could not possibly upgrade their connection no matter how much they were willing to pay.

  • by cooperaaaron ( 897474 ) <cooperaaaron@gmail.com> on Thursday July 16, 2015 @09:42AM (#50124361)
    None of you are paying for it.. so I think this is a good thing for the ones that can benefit from this.....
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I guess they will use it as a way to reduce their tax payment. But it will truly help people that don't have the budget to pay for internet access.
    haven'tng internet access at home is great if you are a college student, having access to ebsco or any other database from home is really helpful. "I live in PR, some of us still don't have access to internet at our homes.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

    Why limit it to those in public housing? Why not offer it to all low income families?

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Maximalist ( 949682 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @10:09AM (#50124537)

      Public housing is high density and hence easy to deploy to. Committing to run fiber out to the backwoods "hollers" wouldn't work... maximum bang for the buck comes from density.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why limit it to those in public housing? Why not offer it to all low income families?

      Because public housing is multi-family, so Google only needs to pay to connect the building to its fiber network. The individual apartments can be connected to the fiber line over coax, 10-BaseT, or POTS lines. For single-family dwellings, Google would have to connect each building to its fiber network individually. And, btw, I'm certain that Google will waive the install fee for public housing. It's a tax write-off, and Google benefits in the long run by harvesting more data on more users to sell to its tr

    • by Cyfun ( 667564 )

      Because it's expensive to run fiber lines, and not very cost effective to provide free installation and service to a single house. Plus, if they run fiber to a low-income family, and that family moves, then someone else gets it, and they'd have to spend a bunch more money installing fiber at the low-income family's new house.

      Far more cost effective in general to run fiber to a place with good housing density, such as an apartment complex.

    • Why limit it to those in public housing? Why not offer it to all low income families?

      My guess would be that they don't want to commit to potentially running new cable into every privately owned house in every market they cover. With public housing they only have to deal with a single management entity per geographic area. Where as if they offered this to every low income household in range of their service then they would have to contact every slum-lord and each of their superintendents to set up appointments, get permission and possibly even permits depending on the amount of work that has

  • Good for Google. We need to put as much pressure as possible on the thieving cable companies. I swear to god I want to see Time Warner burned to the ground. ...Cuddles!
  • by Maximalist ( 949682 ) on Thursday July 16, 2015 @10:27AM (#50124669)

    What sort of TOS does Google bundle the Fiber service with? I know the for-profit telecoms all exclude resale or commercial use... would Google Fiber work as a connection point for a WISP that connects, say, a rural valley with no other options? Spreading out 1GB of service over a bunch of households wirelessly would be a fine way to get them hooked up... and if Goog is willing to serve as their connection point... interesting things could happen.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      Okay, I am going to be an ass here.

      http://lmgtfy.com/?q=google+fi... [lmgtfy.com]

      Your question is fairly easily answered.

    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      To continue:

      Resale and Redistribution The Services are intended to be used by you, your employees, your customers and other users in the ordinary course of business. You agree not to resell or repackage the Services or otherwise make them available to anyone outside of your premises. If you wish to use the Services to provide Internet service to others outside of your premises, you must enter a separate agreement with Google Fiber that specifically authorizes you to do so.

      pretty straightforward

  • I get the intent, but I'm going to submit that what people living in HUD housing need is NOT a better porn/tv/streaming bandwidth to their home. *NOBODY* needs gigabit fiber access to do their homework online.

    • I get the intent, but I'm going to submit that what people living in HUD housing need is NOT a better porn/tv/streaming bandwidth to their home. *NOBODY* needs gigabit fiber access to do their homework online.

      Or you could read TFA and see that it's a 5Mbps down/1Mbps up connection.

  • So is giving away free internet service to the poor a profit maker for Google or is it selfless charity?

    It might well be a profit maker for these reasons: Google gets x amount of advertisement revenue for each new internet user in the U.S., because each new broadband user which Google connects brings Google additional advertising revenues. And Moore's law has dropped the cost of providing service to very low. And Google might be able to claim a charitable tax deduction for this giving. And the best pric

    • But these people are poor.. What can they afford ? Nothing at all...
    • Maybe they're doing it to bring reasonable-speed internet to people who otherwise would be hard-pressed to afford it, just to make the world suck a little less overall. They're also in a position to have the expertise, logistics, and muscle to make it happen, so why not?

  • So what we are going to see in the next year or so is a dramatic increase in call center jobs in Austin and other Google fiber markets. Companies who specialize in collections, over the phone "tech support", sales etc. are going to be creaming their pants over the fact that they no longer have to pay for office space, heating, cooling or electricity and all they have to do is up-sell the idea of working from home to their happy little drones. No more worries about people coming into the office late, dressin

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