Citizens of Kansas City who signed up for Google Fiber are about to see how fast online access can be with the company's new fiber-optic infrastructure. The company, which started home installations recently, has flipped the switch.
That's right, the 1 Gbps Internet service has gone live.
The company is offering gigabit speeds for Internet alone for $70/mo and Internet + TV for $120/mo, comparable to what other cable/Internet providers are charging at much slower speeds. Google provides a network box with the service that has four Ethernet ports and Wi-Fi. For a one-time installation fee of $300, residents can also get free Internet access at 5 Mbps speeds.
Google has put together a video to show what the service rollout will be like:
After the service went live, one resident tweeted speedtest results of 700 Mbps for downloads and 200 Mbps Wi-Fi consistently, so whether the advertised speeds of 1 Gbps downloads and 360 Mbps Wi-Fi can be realistically and reliably achieved is still up in the air. However, few would complain at those speeds as they are at least an order of magnitude higher than the majority of providers can offer. Even the top plan for Verizon FiOS at 300 Mbps downloads costs $210/mo.
The forward-thinking Google Fiber project was announced back in February of 2010, and even as late as August of this year, only about half of the neighborhoods had reached the pre-registration requirement. But before the deadline, 180 of the 202 neighborhoods were able to get enough residents onboard. This is good news as it will allow Google to get a better sense of what a broader rollout will be like.
Google has also been hard at work putting together a television channel lineup that is competitive as well. This isn't a small matter either, considering that not only will Google be stepping on the toes of old-school cable companies like Comcast and satellite TV services like DirecTV, but the service goes against the flow of Apple TV and Microsoft's Xbox, which offers Netflix and Hulu streaming as alternatives to traditional television. Additionally, the super fast speeds means that the service can support the growing number of households with multiple computers and mobile devices all using the same broadband pipeline.
In other words, Google is offering the best of both worlds.
With installations underway in Kansas City central, the company has already announced plans to expand services to surrounding suburbs. How soon will other cities get the chance at lightning fast speeds? It'll likely depend on how Fiber performs over the coming months.
But with the service going live, there's little doubt that Kansas City has become the envy of the digital world.
It's worth taking another look at the promotional video that rallied the troops this summer to get the service installed: