Ever since rumors of its arrival began swirling last year, Google Fiber has been a hot topic among tech-savvy Atlantans. Offering superior internet speeds and cheaper prices, the service has struck fear into entrenched internet providers AT&T and Comcast, both of whom have faced criticism for customers over bloated costs and unfair data caps.
As Google continues to install their fiber lines throughout the city, (they’re starting intown, with lines already being set up in Midtown and East Atlanta) Atlanta city officials have lined up behind the tech giant to voice their support for its vision of fast, affordable internet for all.
Mayor Kasim Reed spoke at Google Fiber’s new Ponce City Market offices Tuesday, and shared the excitement of many Atlantans over the notion of having access to super-high speed internet. “It’s a landmark day for our city because world class internet speeds are essential for our growing tech and startup industry,” said Reed, “And we’re hearing announcements about that industry every single day. Google Fiber gives Atlanta another powerful asset for attracting new businesses and helping individuals and companies chase their dreams.”
Advancing Atlanta’s status as a tech hub has long been one of the Mayor’s priorities. While it’s no San Francisco, the emergence of venture capitalist money has turned the Peach State capital into one of the eight leading U.S. cities for venture capital tech funding. As the city continues to woo out-of-state businesses to relocate, having widespread access to Google Fiber will become a powerful bargaining chip.
Reed’s focus wasn’t just on Silicon Valley start-ups looking to relocate to cheaper pastures though, there is another big reason for Atlanta to look forward to Google Fiber’s arrival. Google will offer a $15/month internet plan for low-income Atlanta residents within the fiber line grid. With internet access linked so strongly to higher education rates, the program figures to be a huge win for Atlanta residents and any politician smart enough to link themselves to it.
See the Mayor’s full speech below.