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Google, US government launch plan to bring Fiber service to public housing

Google is partnering with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to bring its Fiber Internet service to public and affordable housing projects, the company announced on Wednesday.

The plan falls under the ConnectHome initiative organized by HUD and the White House, which is looking to get Internet access to more families and schoolkids in projects spread across 27 communities. Google's efforts will initially be limited to locations in Atlanta, Durham, Nashville, and Kansas City, but the ultimate aim is to cover every Fiber market.

Beyond supplying zero-cost Internet, the partnership will create labs for computer skills training.

Google said the rollout is based on success with a program in one of the first Fiber markets, Austin, where it collaborated with the city's Housing Authority and various local and national organizations on both free connections and digital training.

Fiber is normally available under three pricing tiers. A basic 5 megabits-per-second option is free after a $300 installation. Moving up to gigabit speeds drops the installation fee, but costs $70 per month with a one-year contract. A bundle of gigabit Internet and 150-plus TV channels costs $130 per month.

For Google, both the paid and pro bono versions of Fiber are a way of boosting its core businesses. By knocking down speed and access barriers, more people are exposed to the company's advertising and general product lineup.