Google Fiber is finally here, but will it be a success?

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Google has started to install its Fiber TV and broadband service in Hanover Heights, Kansas City, KS, giving residents in the US state internet of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).

The search giant has expressed its desire to be part of the internet service provider (ISP) business since 2010, and more than 1100 cities had wanted to be part of the new Fiber service. Eventually however, Google chose Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, to test-drive the system.

The service offers a variety of billing options; 1Gbps internet for $70 per month; internet plus TV thrown in for $120 a month, both with waived construction fees; or free internet, with a $300 construction fee.

Average broadband speed figures differ depending on which data you look at, but according to figures from Akamai’s State of the Internet report, average peak connection speed was 28.7Mbps – 8th best in the world – and 12th for measured connection speed, 6.7Mbps.

Other figures from Net Index showed that the US had an average broadband download speed of 12.76Mbps. South Korea was top with 32.96Mbps.

Evidently, this will be a huge increase for any resident, but Google wished to stress the “great experience” residents would enjoy – and this includes the customer service element.

“We want it to take the amount of time we (and you!) think it’s going to take,” said Alana Karen, service delivery director at Google Fiber.

“We want to be able to explain what we’re doing in easy to understand language…and of course we’re aiming for “one and done” – one visit, everything working when we leave your home”, Karen added.

Back in July, Benoît Felten expressed worry that Google wasn’t doing enough to justify the hype surrounding Fiber, and inferred that it was just the brand which was getting people interested.

“My views at this stage is that Google Fiber is an interesting commercial project not because of what it offers or how – there’s nothing very different there from your standard cableco – but because of who is offering it,” he wrote.

“Sure, a gigabit for $70 is much lower than any other gigabit offering in the US and likely to get the geeks excited, but it’s still $70 – in other words, higher than most broadband solutions available to Kansas City customers today,” he added.

It will be interesting to see how well Google has priced this, especially if the TV element is added; one key question will surely be how long Google will agree to waive the $300 connection fee. Similarly, will this super-fast internet fully link in to Google’s other services?

Check out Google’s video celebrating the installation of the Fiber infrastructure here:

View Comments
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *