Google Fiber is a newly launched Internet server network using fiber-optic technology. It provides the fastest Internet speeds in the United States to residential customers with download/upload bandwidth speeds at about 1 Gbit/s. The service is currently only provided in two cities: Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.
Google Fiber expands the company’s cyber dominion with this ultra-high speed network. The project began earlier in 2012 when Google announced that it would start building the infrastructure to launch the service. The two cities were chosen after a rigorous and competitive selection process of over 1,100 applicant cities across the nation.
The connectivity speeds offered by Google Fiber are unparalleled in the United States, which, according to Google, are “100 times faster” than the speeds that the average American receives, and for a modest price of $70/month. The primary ISP provider of fiber-optic service has been Verizon’s FiOS service launched in 2005, which offers speeds up to 300Mbps down, for over $300/month. Verizon currently offers FiOS to 12 states with no intentions of expanding further, so there is a large market opportunity for Google’s Fiber service.
The service comes with 1TB of storage on the Google Drive cloud storage. There are evidently no data caps on bandwidth, a rare gift from an ISP. For an upgraded price of $120/month, Google Fiber offers a TV service package (Fiber TV) with 162 channels, and a 2TB DVR box that can record up to 500 hours of video with eight simultaneous streams. The TV package also includes a free Google Nexus 7 tablet which serves as the remote to control and coordinate the entire service. An optional Chromebook laptop is available with both packages.
The implications of this project are massive. With the service only offered in two cities, it is difficult to make projections. If the project is successful though, not only will Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner and other ISPs struggle to keep up with the super speeds, but the way TV service is provided will also change. Subscribers won’t need a separate cable TV subscription, because the digital TV connectivity offered by Google Fiber is Internet-based. If many users in one of Google’s “Fiberhoods” all set up Wifi networks, in a few years it may threaten even cell phone service providers, due to the high speeds. Even TV advertisers will have to rethink how they approach commercials and product placement.