Do you remember a few years ago when cities across the country were trying to convince Google to use them as a test city for ‘Google Fiber’? There were huge campaigns, viral videos, and mayors saying that they’d change the name of their city to Google if it meant they would be selected. Eventually a winner emerged and Kansas City, MO was chosen as the first city to get Google Fiber.
The announcement happened a while back, but today Google announced details of the service. On top of incredibly fast internet access (1Gbps; Google claims this is 10 times faster than the average American internet connection), Google announced Google Fiber TV. Google Fiber TV coupled with Google Fiber internet access, will connect you with just about everything you need. Their are three plan options: Gigabit + TV, Gigabit Internet and Free Internet (yep…you read that right).
For $120 a month with a two year contract (plus tax and fees) you can get access to: “up to one gigabit upload & download speed” with no data caps and a “Full TV Lineup” (The current channel listing is available on the Google Fiber website, though it is subject to change and does include premium channels that will cost an additional fee).
Subscribers will also receive multiple pieces of hardware. You’ll get a ‘Network Box’, which will act as your modem and wireless router (802.11a/b/g/n) with four 1 Gbps Ethernet ports.
You’ll get your television from the “Google Fiber TV Box”. The TV Box will be compatible with HDMI, component and composite video outputs. It will also act as a WiFi access point and will be Bluetooth enabled.
Subscribers will receive a Nexus 7 Android tablet to use as their remote control. It will be the same Nexus 7 you can buy separately, so you’ll still be able to surf the web and download & use apps with it. There will also be a ‘Fiber app’ that you can download on “select Android and Apple iOS devices”. I would theorize that ‘select devices’ means Android 4.0 and up and iPad2, New iPad, and iPhone 3GS and up, and the 4th generation iPod Touch.
You’ll need a place to store all the TV you’ll be recording DVR Style. For that you’ll use the “Google Fiber Storage Box”, a 2TB storage device that can record up to eight shows at once. You’ll also be able to store your own videos and photos on the Storage Box and you’ll be able to “access [your data] from any of your devices”. On top of all that you’ll also get 1TB of storage on Google Drive!
If you just want the Gigabit Internet, you can do that. It will cost you $70/mo with a one year contract and come with: the one gigabit upload & download speeds, Network Box and the 1TB of Google Drive storage.
Both of those plans waive the $300 “Construction Fee” to actual lay the fiber cable. If you still want really fast internet, but you don’t want to pay…there’s a plan for you too! If you pay the $300 fee, either all at once or $25/mo for 12 months, you get free internet access. The speed will be limited to 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up, but you’ll still have no data caps. Google promises that the free service will be offered for at least seven years. The free option also includes the Network Box.
There is a process to get your neighborhood wired with fiber. People who are interested must go on the Google Fiber website and pre-register their address for whatever package they want. They’ll have to pay a $10 pre-registration fee. Your neighborhood will also have to reach a certain amount of registrations by September 9th for it to be wired for installation. You can check out the official Google Fiber Video below for more information.
Right now Google is focusing on Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO as test balloons. Depending on how things go in the initial cities, the company could be rolling this service package out to other cities in the near future. I’ll be honest, I want to move to Kansas City right now because that’s a hell of a deal. The internet speed alone is worth $120/mo to many people, but throw in everything else and you’re talking about something that you can bet Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable and any other cable/DSL provider is fearful of. In a world where we’re relying more and more on fast and reliable internet access, this could be a game changer.
The flip side of this argument is that you’ll be integrating even more of your life with Google, and some may not want to rely almost completely on a single company. I’m sure that’s a debate that will be had in the next few days, but for right now let’s marvel at this great deal and potential jump in internet technology. We’ll worry about the potential Big Brother aspects tomorrow…