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

Cities need you. Support Next City and have your gift matched.Donate

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 the most upper-left corner of the country. She writes about urban policy, equitable development and the outdoors (but also about nearly everything else) with a focus on solutions-oriented journalism. She is a former associate editor and current contributing editor at Next City.

Follow Kelsey

Tags: parkssan antoniogoogle fiber

Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 838 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $40/Year
  • Anonymous in Shreveport, LA at $5/Month
  • Karis in Rocky River, OH at $100/Year

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    The 21 Best Solutions of 2021 special edition magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind