Is it me, or is Google quickly becoming a caricature of those large mega corporations we see in old school cyber punk movies? Those hands just keep dipping into ALL the honey pots! Though, I find it hard not to like them; Google takes their “don’t be evil” motto seriously by using open source software, offering free programs and services, and contributing to dozens of charitable causes. I’d characterize their efforts as downright noble if it weren’t for the fact that they need to turn a profit to satisfy stock market investors every quarter. It seems like Google has taken another leap into that grey territory of philanthropy and profit with Google Fiber. What is Google Fiber? Well, it’s not the next health bar, but it’ll probably send your local internet provider into a panicked frenzy.
Rumors about Google Fiber have been floating around the net for a few months now, but as of July 26th 2012, Google has officially announced their new fiber optic network with the release of the nifty video found above. According to the fine print on Google Fiber’s main website, this ground breaking service is boasting speeds up to 1.0 Gigabits per second, which is about 100 times faster than the national average. Despite of most ISPs, this average clocks in at about bout 5.8 mbps. Unfortunately, this service is only available to Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, which will act as America’s first beta town. The real kicker though, is the prospect of free high-speed broadband. According to the Official Google Fiber Blog, “if you pre-register and your fiberhood gets installed, you’ll have the option to get a 5 megabit per second (Mbps) connection for zero monthly charge, and your home will be wired and ready for the switch. The Free Internet option will cost $0 per month, although you will have to pay a $300 construction fee (which can either be paid at once, or in $25 monthly installments)”. Free high-speed internet is only the beginning; for 70 dollars a month, users can upgrade to a bidirectional 1.0 Gbps connection. For the internet layman, those high speeds are equal for upload and download purposes. Those with bigger wallets, can pay $120 dollars a month for Google’s television service, which hosts several popular cable channels like G4, CNN and MTV. However, you’ll have to catch Game of Thrones elsewhere, as I didn’t see HBO on the official channel listitng at the Google Fiber website. In addition, customers will receive a network box, a storage box, a TV box, 1 TB of storage space on Google Drive, a Nexus 7 tablet as a remote control, and an optional Chromebook laptop!
The development in Kansas City, as of this posting, is in full swing. For several months now, Google has been building several “Google Fiber Huts” that connect to a main Global Internet Connectivity Line. Each hut uses the local utility poles to form a network all around the city, thus enabling each house within the “fiberhood” to have its own fiber cable. This ensures that every home gets the best connection possible. As a bonus, schools, libraries, and hospitals will get the upgraded plan for free. The construction project is huge, matching in scale with the grandeur of faster and free high-speed broadband. Rival internet service providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T have kept relatively quiet on Google’s plans to compete in their market, but Google welcomes the challenge. According to broadbandbreakfast.com, a Google executive said that they are, “’inviting the Comcasts, the AT&T service providers to work with us on our network, and to provide their service offering on top of our pipe – we’re definitely planning on doing that,’ said Minnie Ingersoll, Google’s product manager and co-lead for alternative access. ‘Our general attitude has been that there’s plenty of room for innovation right now in the broadband space, and it’s great what the cable companies are doing, upgrading to DOCSIS 3.0, but no one company has a monopoly on innovation.’”
Google seems to be doing a great service for internet consumers everywhere, as the prices of subpar broadband is very pricey. In some places cable, television, and phone combos exceed 200 dollars a month. Google Fiber is like an open challenge of war to companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, forcing them to provide faster and more stable internet connections at a reduced cost. The only ones benefiting from this war would be the customers. Google is doing so much good right now, it’s practically evil!