Metro Atlanta home to new Google Fiber training facility
By Mariann Martin, contributor
Google Fiber in-home installers from around the country will receive training in metro Atlanta at a center known as Google Fiber Academy.
The internet search company unveiled the academy on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
The facility has already been used to train about 700 installers in a pilot program, but will train thousands each year. Google Fiber representatives announced the opening during a news conference and tour of the new facility in southwest Atlanta.
Metro Atlanta was chosen because it is a business-savvy region, has a vibrant tech sector and is within two hours’ flight time from most the country, according to Pavlos Politopoulos, a customer service operations manager for Google Fiber.
“We have a long history of strong and successful relationships with the city,” Politopoulos said.
The training center, located Atlanta S Parkway, has demonstration areas meant to mimic a home installation. There are demo exterior home walls and a furnished demo living room that allows the trainees to practice. The eight-day training program will include customer service training, too.
Google Fiber in January announced plans to bring its 1 gig service to nine cities in the metro area, including Decatur and Avondale Estates. The company said at the time that it might be up to two years before the service is available.
Google began installation of fiber cables in various parts of the metro area in June, but declined Wednesday to say when the service might be available to customers.
The work currently being done is the backbone of the fiber installation process and will serve as a hub and spokes for the network, according to Fabiola Charles, a community impact manager with the company. At a later date, installers will return to neighborhoods to finish the final steps before the product becomes available to consumers.
People can sign up for the service and for updates by going to google.com/fiber. However, areas with the most people requesting the service is not necessarily where the service will first be offered, Charles said.
During Wednesday’s tour, team members demonstrated how to drill through brick and stucco exterior walls, run the cables so they are hidden under siding, install the media box, and operate a TV that uses Google Fiber.
Google built the program’s user interface from the ground up. Users will use a remote to operate a keyboard type interface on the TV screen. Users can watch or record up eight shows at a time and store up to 500 hours of programs. They can also store personal photos or videos on the storage device.
The program team members demonstrated on Wednesday is already available in Austin, Texas, Kansas City, and Provo, Utah.
Team members declined to say how much Google Fiber services will cost. It will be a tiered system that includes options to have only internet service or additional features. The pricing structure will likely be comparable to prices in the three cities that currently have Google Fiber, Charles said.
When asked how Google Fiber plans to separate itself from other internet and TV service providers already in metro Atlanta, Politopoulos said the company focuses on the customer service experience. Service providers show up at specific time rather than giving a time window, and people who call a customer service line only wait an average of 33 seconds before someone answers the phone, he said.
“And we have a product that is incredibly fast,” he added. Google Fiber offers speeds of 1 gigabit per second, or 1,000 megabits per second compared to an average speed of 11.5 megabits per second in the U.S. now.