San Antonio Residents Say Google Fiber’s Messing With Their Parks

City hits pause on construction of high-speed network. 

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

While many cities continue to vie for high-speed internet service via Google Fiber, some San Antonio residents are pushing back on where some of their new network will be built, the San Antonio Business Journal reports.

Construction began on the 4,000-mile long Google Fiber network in San Antonio a year ago, starting with a ring around the city that the company calls the network’s “fiber optic cable backbone.” Now, Google is building 17 “huts” to house bundles of fiber-optic cable. While most of the huts are near libraries or fire stations, some of them are in parks or a vacant lot, and residents say they block access to those spaces.

While Google dubs the structures “huts,” they’re not exactly tiny. Each structure is circled by a security fence that’s 10 feet high, 26 feet long and 11 feet wide.

In response to the complaints, Mayor Ivy Taylor and Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran asked City Manager Sheryl Sculley Monday to work with Google Fiber to find new locations for some of the huts. Construction of the remaining 15 is on hold until all sites for the huts are reviewed by city staff. The city has already recommended that no future park or residential location be a site.

The master lease agreement for the network, passed in March 2014, doesn’t require individual permitting processes for the huts. The city is set to collect roughly $38,250 annually in rent from the huts, but reserves the right to have them moved if necessary.

Kelsey E. Thomas is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia but forever dreaming of her PNW roots. She writes about urban policy, sustainability and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) and helps brands employ strategic storytelling to grow their reputation and reach. She is a former associate editor at Next City.

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Tags: parkssan antoniogoogle fiber

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