Newsmonger: Free Google Fiber, Say Hello to SAFC and More Zika Virus

An up-close illustration of the Zika Virus
An up-close illustration of the Zika Virus

Fiber to the People

Google Fiber is still a ways away from being available in San Antonio. But when it arrives, the service will be free for some who may have otherwise had a tough time affording it.

The gigabit-speed Internet service will be free for people who live in public housing, the tech behemoth announced last week. The effort is a joint initiative between Google, local partners and ConnectHome, a federal Housing and Urban Development program which aims to help families with young children access high-speed Internet.

"For low income families, access to the Internet can mean the difference between thriving or falling behind," the company said in a news release. "For families in affordable housing, cost can be one of the biggest barriers to getting online. Alongside our ConnectHome partners, we're proud to make some of the fastest Internet more available and accessible to those who need it most."

Google announced in August that San Antonio would be the next city to receive the coveted high-tech investment, which will make it the largest city in the company's growing network. Google is in the process of planning how to lay over 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable throughout the city. It's unclear when the service will be up and running.

A Team By Any Other Name ...

The identity crisis of San Antonio's new pro soccer club is over. After months of waiting, Spurs Sports and Entertainment unveiled the team's name, logo and first player signings last week at the AT&T Center.

The team is called San Antonio FC. The club explained in a news release that the eponymous title "solidifies San Antonio's hometown roots, and proudly represents the city among the growing soccer culture in the country. FC commonly represents Football Club in clubs throughout the globe, and specifically in Mexico, Spain and Germany, which are historically connected to the origins of San Antonio and the South Texas region."

The club's logo features a banner of the city's name above a spur (reminiscent of another local sports team you may have heard of) and five diagonal bands fading from white to grey to red. The five stripes are meant to symbolize the five branches of the armed forces – an homage to San Antonio's "Military City U.S.A" nickname.

The team's next step is to fill out its roster before its opening game against Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday, April 4.

"Does anyone play center forward?" SAFC head coach Darren Powell asked the crowd at the unveiling.

Zika Virus Spreads

No mosquito in Texas has been found carrying the zika virus yet. But the pathogen that's swept through Central and South America is still making its presence felt in the Lone Star State.

San Antonio's Metropolitan Health District announced that a Bexar County resident contracted the virus abroad and brought it home with them. Similar cases were found near Dallas, Austin and Houston. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced that the virus was sexually transmitted between two people in Dallas County, the first time it had been passed from human-to-human contact in the United States.

The zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that causes fever, rash, joint pain and irritation in carriers, although most people don't exhibit any symptoms. The most dangerous risks are for unborn children, who can be born with birth defects if their mother carries the virus at the time of birth.

In response, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he'd assembled a 31-member task force to "provide expert, evidence-based assessments, protocols and recommendations related to state responses to infectious diseases." The task force includes doctors, government officials from large cities, tropical medicine researchers and hospital administrators

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