Google Fiber challenges big cable in Kansas City
It’s been some months since cities across the United States threw in their bids to become the first city that Google lit up with insanely-fast broadband. Google named Kansas City the “winner” of Google Fiber—and a bit more, as Google announced something extra: TV service.
Google is working to build a broadband network that's capable of reaching gigabit (1000-megabit) speeds. To put that into context, Google Fiber would be approximately 200 times faster than the 5-megabit pipe in my office. That’s relatively insane, as these things go.
There are three tiers to Google Fiber. The first, of course, is Gigabit + TV. It includes “hundreds of channels [and] tens of thousands of shows on demand” in HD. This option lets you record 8 different shows simultaneously, and comes with 2TB of DVR storage. You read that correctly: two terabytes. If that’s not enough, Google is throwing in a brand-new Nexus 7 tablet—just to act as your remote. Google promises no bandwidth caps, and this service costs you a flat fee of $120 per month, with free installation.
Not a good enough deal? Maybe you don’t want to record 8 simultaneous repeats of Jersey Shore at once? There's also the Gigabit Internet option: for $70 per month, you get gigabit broadband, a Wi-Fi router, and 1TB of cloud storage on Google Drive. Yeah, I’m totally not kidding.
If $70 is still too much for your budget, Google has one more pitch for you: how about some internet for free? If you pre-register with Google to get your fiber installed, Google will install a 5-megabit-per-second connection to your home for no monthly charge. Pay the $300 installation fee ($25 a month if you prefer) and get browsing.
Has Google just turned the entire broadband Internet sector on its head. Is this going to be seriously disruptive to the TV and broadband internet industries? If this is a precursor of what’s to come from Google as they roll out fiber nationwide, I don’t even know what to say. This could change everything. That's a bit "if." So far, Google is simply testing this service out in Kansas City, and hasn't even gotten that done yet—it's asking people in the city to pre-register by September 9th, before it breaks out the backhoe. The difference between deploying in a test market and seriously challenging an industry nationwide is a matter of enormous scale and hundreds of thousands of workers.
From an analytical standpoint, what do you think Google will do to pay for this? For me, I’m expecting to see more ads while you browse. Google’s main revenue is via ads in search, and I expect this kind of penetration into the home will be no exception (as well as keeping your Internet experience inside of Google’s umbrella).