Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber in Austin, photo by Susan Lahey

Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber in Austin, photo by Susan Lahey

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Google Fiber will house its Austin headquarters in the former Austin Children’s Museum at 201 W. Colorado, Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber announced Monday.

Strama said he hopes the 23,000 square foot building will be Austin’s “Living Room.” He was harking back to the opening of Whole Foods when John Mackey said the headquarters building was a “Love letter to the City of Austin.”

Google hopes to have concerts, hackathons, town hall meetings and other events in the space, which is also a DIY production studio. A giant, two-million pixel screen looms over the entrance area. It can receive up to six video feeds at once.

The coolest thing about 1 Gbps upload and download speeds is that it will change the shape of the internet, Strama said. It will become less a place from with to draw information and more of a place where anyone can share information, which means developers will have a whole new world to play in.

“A lot of the applications we have today wouldn’t have worked on dial-up (internet),” Strama pointed out, including Facebook.

Strama announced Google Fiber’s pricing plan, including one plan of $300 for construction and no monthly fee; $70 a month for a gigabit Internet service and $130 a month for TV plus, which includes access to more than 150 high definition channels. AT&T is also offering 1 Gbps for $70 a month.

The company also revealed its Austin installment van with art done by local artist Mike “Truth” Johnston.

In October the company announced it would launch in South and Southeast Austin, making Austin the second city—after Kansas City—to receive Google Fiber. It will begin taking orders in December. Strama said the company wasn’t giving a specific date because it doesn’t want to set a mark and miss it. Google originally announced its intentions to launch by mid-year 2014.

AT&T has been expanding its 1Gbps GigaPower service throughout Austin. San Marcos based Grande Communications has also been rolling out 1 Gbps in Austin.