back to article Austinites outraged as Google Fiber tears up Texas capital

Residents of Austin, TX may be regretting the decision to bring Google Fiber to the city. The Austin American Statesman says that last year, 254 complaints were filed with the city over problems related to construction of the network. The complaints include reports of landscape and property damage caused by crews tasked with …

  1. Ole Juul

    No pain, no gain

    I don't think I've ever seen a construction project which didn't cause inconvenience and aggravation for those who live nearby. In this case it touches more people than the average project so one would expect complaints to rise accordingly.

    1. tmTM

      Re: No pain, no gain

      How many complaints could be avoided by not using complete Neanderthals to do the work though?

      Blocking storm drains and residents driveways - any halfwit can see thats going to cause a problem.

  2. Lars Silver badge

    What an one sided article

    While. Shaun Nichols, there is nothing wrong with pointing out the negative in what ever, perhaps you should also consider the possible demand and advantage of Google Fiber not to sound too American.

    1. Notas Badoff

      Re: What an one sided article

      Which one, in the local paper or here? If the article here is simply relating what the local paper is documenting, wha'chr'beef? I think you'll agree ElReg goes to no end to relate how unhappy the network incumbents make people, so there's the balance you seek, just not repeated here.

      Aside: got taken to see a sight south of Austin. A railroad bridge, with the tracks about 40-45 feet over the normal level of the river. Noticed something that looked strange, yet couldn't recognize the significance for awhile. Then it clicked that it was water-borne brush wrapped around the top of the bridge pillars, at track height. Not like this was a narrow gorge either, but a quite broad area for the river. And this was the second flood last year, higher than the first. Which is why they now are going to have to replace both the concrete road bridge washed out in the spring and now the roads _to_ the crossing washed away on either side in the fall.

      El Niño's bladder is really *really* large, and when he pisses in your direction...

      1. quattroprorocked

        Here's a UK pic for you

        I took a friend there and pointed out the poles, and asked if he could guess what they are for.


        The river gets higher sometimes. The moorings need to adjust....

        It's the Severn between Tewkesbury and Gloucester and still builders want to develop the flood plains.

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    Utility right of ways

    Many property owners forget there are often utility right of ways on their property and workers have the right to build as they see fit.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Utility right of ways

      But surely not ignoring the relevant codes doing so?

  4. beep54

    Getting used to it

    At least downtown Austin is kind of used to this. First, during the 80's boom dot bust, everyone, including their long-lost relatives were digging up downtown to lay fiber and cable because the permit process was, apparently, merely announcing: I'm digging here and then doing it. [on the flip side, it took ages and ages for the first sidewalk cafe permit to go thru...] At any rate, there should be tons of dark fiber down there. Austin bounced back quickly from the bust and next there was monumental construction downtown (which hasn't shown any sign of slowing none in the past 10-15 years). And of course, this made the wholely antiquated infrastructure impossible so, basically, downtown had to be dug up once more. Somewhere around this time, we thought, hey, what the heck. Let's just put a ginormous tunnel under Waller Creek downtown while we're at it, ya know, fer flood control (and the attendent property values rise). While the infrastructure is pretty much done and the tunnel completion is in sight, construction goes on apace with more towering hotels and condos. Even the Convention Center is mulling another expansion. So, yep. I'd say we're kinda use to it here. If fact, it seems normal now. Austin: City of Cranes.

    1. Steve Aubrey

      Re: Getting used to it

      "Austin: City of Cranes"

      The new city bird?

  5. a_yank_lurker

    Austin = LaLa Land

    Austin has a reputation of being LaLa Land with a strong dose of Hollywierd in Texas. They will complain if they do not have Google fiber and will complain about the infrastructure work needed.

    1. Geoffrey W

      Re: Austin = LaLa Land

      I always figured Austin as one of the more habitable Texas cities, a bit like Texas's Portland Oregon, though less Portlandia than Portland. I suppose to the rest of Texas that would seem a bit La Di Da but to the rest of the civilised world...well...

  6. Mikel

    A deluge falls on "Running Water Drive"

    12 inches of rain in a single day - a record. And the residents, failing to read their own "Running Water Drive" street signs, neglected to purchase flood insurance. Caught in peril of paying for their own negligence they cast about for a scapegoat. The paperboy has no money, the mailman is protected by the federal government, so Google's contractor must be to blame somehow. Makes perfect sense. Except the part about it being news in the UK. Don't you guys have ample shenanigans like this of your own going on to report?

  7. Mark 85

    Hey Google....

    Give me fiber and you won't hear any complaints from me. Hell, I'll even dig up the front yard to help out.

    1. zarvus

      Re: Hey Google....

      Why wait? Start tearing!

  8. jnffarrell1

    Public spirited home owner fails to unplug nearest storm drain


  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge


    254 complaints were filed with the city over problems related to construction of the network

    The next complaint will be broadcast!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hah!

      And how many of those 254 complaints are employees of the incumbent telco?

  10. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    I always assumed "right(s) of way' in Texas had something to do with 'biggest gun' or 'most ammo', but maybe I just watched too many John Wayne movies as a kid.

    1. zarvus

      Austin's different. Here it's whoever has the biggest investment portfolio or the most follows on Github. And inexpicably, who has better abs.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    "our construction hotline is open 24/7, and we welcome questions..."

    Your message will be recorded, ran through a TTS processor, matched against a series of FAQs via Python script and you will receive a reply via gmail if you have it or SMS if you don't (don't worry your pretty little head about how we know your gmail and mobile number).

  12. AustinTX

    Take it from a local

    I'm a long-term Austin citizen with Google Fiber partly installed (the fiber's not live yet, so they haven't brought the router out). While I see clues here and there that the subcontractors doing various legwork and digging are a bit detached from the smiley-face Google Fiber cheerleaders, they've been very helpful and personable for us.

    My experience with Texans, Austinites, and particularly with my south side neighbors compels me to disclose that no-one loves a shark frenzy like this mob. You simply would not believe what kinds of things they whip into some sort of social or safety crisis. Picture a city packed solid with small-town busybodies. Once a target has been selected, everyone jumps in and tries to tear a hunk of flesh out for themselves. No-one is ever *for* anything; they're always just opposed to something.

    Google Fiber is doing a fine job, though they do seem to be about 1-1.5 years behind schedule, heh. I credit the delay with them moving with necessary diligence. My only complaint is that they chose the deplorable "teleNetwork" call center to serve as their local customer service. I worked for them at one time.

  13. TMMITW

    Trench my yard

    I have been waiting for Google to reach my neighborhood in Austin for years. They are welcome to trench my yard, tear up my driveway and do what ever damage is needed so I can kick Time Warner to the curb.

    1. kiwimuso

      Re: Trench my yard

      @ TMMITW

      I don't understand. I have just had fibre laid in our street in Auckland, NZ and I saw minimal trenching required.

      They used horizontal drilling to lay the initial conduit for the main cable to run in, then when it came time to install that cable, they dug a hole every 30 or 40 metres (depending on bends v straight runs) broke open the conduit then pulled the cable through. Once done, the holes were filled in and any surface "decoration" replaced. By surface decoration I mean, grass, replacement flowers in a flower bed, etc.

      When they came to run it to individual houses they had 2 separate (possibly more) crews, one who did shared/right-of-way access, and the other did the single houses.

      With ours as a single house they put the linking cable through the same conduit as the copper phone lines. Simple.

      The only trenching they did in our street was when running the cable down the shared driveways. They dug a small trench immediately adjacent to the driveway and if they were unable to do that in order to route around immovable objects, like trees for example, they would dig a VERY small trench to circumvent the obstruction, then cover everything when they had finished.

      In very rare cases when all other access methods had failed, they can also attach to a fence or string it overhead if other services still used that method. Most cities and towns have underground service these days, so that too, is rare. A bit different in the countryside.

      So the question is, just what are Google installers doing that requires such disruption and inconvenience?

    2. zarvus

      Re: Trench my yard

      Same, but AT&T UVerse :D

      Meanwhile, Google's offering a pay-per-GB mobile wifi that is priced slightly above everything else. Not sure what the point of that is.

  14. Timo

    You can't make a cake without cracking a few eggs

    That's all. People want the services but don't want the last mile to disrupt their local version of paradise.

  15. ZPO

    Having built a fiber network in Austin....

    The city government agencies were the main impediment to both speed of completion and good construction practices. Random city inspectors would come up with requirements out of thin air.

    The population of Austin is also a problem. Far too many California transplants and other liberals. They will whine and pitch a fit about anything that offends their delicate sensibilities or intrudes on their soy-based vegan yoga chakra energy alignment or whatever they're attached to this week.

  16. zarvus

    For us north Austinites who don't get the speeds of Google Fiber for another year or two, please eat us.

    As an aside - t-shirt from SXSW: Welcome to Austin, please don't move here.

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