Last Tuesday, Google Inc. announced that Austin, Texas would be the next home of Google Fiber – an ultra-fast broadband service that is 100 times quicker than today’s competition. Austin was selected as the next city to receive Google Fiber service because it is globally known as the Mecca for entrepreneurial and creative people. Ubiquitous high-speed connectivity can immediately impact the work of these artists, musicians, tech companies and medical research pioneers. Because Austin is such a large city, the Google team will need to build an entirely new infrastructure that requires heavy planning and engineering work before they can start connecting homes.
Google was vague in identifying the specific areas that will be the first to receive service, but their plan is to connect users in areas where demand is extremely high and existing service is underwhelming. At this point, the only places to get Google Fiber are Austin and Kansas City. The cost to roll out a service of this magnitude is an expensive undertaking that is a major gamble on Google’s behalf. The team hopes that introducing this service will drive innovation and pressure cable and phone companies to improve their existing networks, since Google benefits from users spending more time online.
Customers can choose from three product plans:
- Gigabit + TV: This gives customers the full Google experience. You have access to upload and download speeds up to one gigabit, crystal clear HDTV, a full channel TV lineup and no data caps.
- Gigabit Internet: Get access to Internet that is 100 times faster than average ISP speeds. Enjoy download/upload speeds up to one gigabit.
- Free Internet: Utilize free Internet at today’s average speeds with up to 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds. There are no monthly data caps and you can upgrade to Fiber speeds at anytime.
In addition to the components of each plan, there are several other extras that are included. Prices and plan specifics will be announced when Google gets closer to connecting homes in 2014. Google’s VP of Access Services, Milo Medin said that customers could expect to pay “roughly” the same prices as those charged in Kansas City. For $70 each month, Kansas City residents have access to Gigabit Internet, and for an additional $50, they also receive a cable-like TV service that has a channel line-up featuring networks such as FOX News, ESPN, MTV and Nickelodeon. Google has yet to bring on board mainstay channels such as HBO and AMC.
Despite not having a full channel line-up, you should want Google Fiber service for a number of reasons. For one, you can say goodbye to buffering. There is nothing I hate more than getting halfway through a video and then having to wait for it to buffer before I can watch the rest. In a Google Fiber demonstration, five HD YouTube videos were played simultaneously without a glitch. Also, the introduction of Google’s broadband service is forcing the competition to provide better service for more affordable prices. In fact, AT&T announced that it too has plans to build a gigabit network in Austin just minutes after Google’s unveiling. Google also plans to work with medical centers and school systems to facilitate gigabit applications for health-care and educational uses.
One thing is certain; the introduction of Google Fiber service will have a positive impact on Austonites and the future of the city. Imagine what people can do. The opportunities are endless!