The announcement Kansas City has been waiting for finally arrived yesterday. Google has answered all of the questions Kansas City has asked for the past year including what Google Fiber is, what comes with the fiber and, perhaps most importantly, when it will be available.
I’ll apologize for my geekiness now and if it seems like I’m salivating...it’s because I am. Bring on the fiber!
Let’s start with the most basic question that Kansas City has been asking: What is Google Fiber? Generally speaking, fiber is a 1 gigabyte (1000 megabyte) per second symmetrical connection (which means 1 gigabyte per second upload and download speed). Current broadband speeds average around 5 megabytes per second. That means that a fiber connection is roughly 100 times faster than our current Internet speeds. Yes, I am drooling.
Along with the yesterday’s Internet announcement, Google also announced that its fiber service will also include the highest quality high definition TV (HDTV). Google’s television service will also include integration of YouTube and, if you’re a subscriber, Netflix. From viral video fans to sports fanatics, reality TV show junkies to movie buffs—that’s every viewer’s dream.
So what’s included in the service? Google Fiber will consist of three package options:
- Google Fiber + TV: The top tier package is loaded with goodies to keep you entertained for an eternity.
- This package includes a 1 gigabyte network router box that will be connected to the fiber line that also includes Wi-Fi. This network will also act as a 1 gigabyte firewall for security.
- Accompanying the network box is a storage box equipped with 2 terabytes (equating to over 500+ hours of HD content!) that will allow the recording of 8 shows at once. Google says that with that much storage, you’ll have enough to upload your own family content like pictures and videos as well. For even more storage, Google has thrown in 1 terabyte of storage in the cloud on Google Drive.
- A slim TV box for each television in your home will enable you to watch the vast amount of content available to you. These TV boxes incorporate your preexisting wiring with built-in Ethernet. The Google Fiber TV boxes (which sound more like a Swiss army knives to me!) have an Ethernet connection port for game consoles and also act as Wi-Fi hotspots. What does this mean for you? It means there are no dead areas in your home. For added measure, the box is Bluetooth enabled so you can pair all of your devices (such as headphones and speakers) with it. Added bonus: The standard Google remotes are Bluetooth enabled!
- Speaking of remotes, Google’s television remote looks like any other remote control. But in its Google-ish fashion, the giant corporation had to kick it up a notch. With the Google Fiber + TV package, users have the option to purchase a Google Nexus 7 tablet. This tablet can act as a remote, but can also be used as an extra TV screen via the Google Fiber app. This app will be available on all Android and iOS devices, turning any typical smartphone into a remote control.
- The most amazing part about all of this? Google Fiber + TV will cost just $120 a month! But before you pay the monthly fee, there is $300 construction/installation fee which can be waived if you sign a 2 year contract.
- Google Fiber Plan: This plan is Google’s simplest plan. With this package, users will receive 1 gigabyte Internet, 1 terabyte worth of storage on Google Drive and a network box. This package is priced at $70 a month with a $300 installation fee. But much like the package mentioned above, the installation fee can be waived if you sign a 2 year contract.
- Free Internet: The last plan Google is offering is free Internet. As an incentive to future-proof any home, Google is providing free Internet with a onetime fee of $300 (or $25 per month for 12 months). Google plans to provide free Internet at current broadband speeds for seven years.
Fiber will be available based on neighborhood interest starting today up until September 9th. These neighborhoods are all located in Kansas City, Kansas as well as Kansas City, Missouri. These “Fiberhoods”, as they’re called, have just 6 weeks to rally as many of their neighbors as possible to go online and pre-register for $10.
Great news for residential areas, right? Unfortunately, Google’s Thursday announcements mean next to nothing to many Kansas City-area businesses. It seems as if entrepreneurs, small businesses and large corporations alike will have to be a little more patient.
Google has reported that announcements about Fiber for business will be coming in later months. For now, the company is focusing on its residential launch period. On the bright side, Google did announce that over 200 locations across KC (schools, government buildings, selected local businesses and libraries) will have access to the 1 gigabyte fiber network.
If you’d like to experience Google Fiber before it comes to your neighborhood, Google has opened what they call their Fiber Space. Starting Saturday, July 28th, Fiber Space will be open by appointment.
What are your thoughts on Google’s big announcement? Sound off in the comments below.