Google Fiber provides internet and cable television service through fiber optic cables (instead of the more common method of coaxial and copper network). This technology is superior and allows much faster data transfer. Google estimates that their Fiber service is 100x faster than the average U.S. broadband service.
In 2012, Google Fiber selected Kansas City to be its pilot city and has since expanded to Provo, Utah and Austin, TX. Even though they are still working on those cities, the company is already looking at rolling out their service across the country. Here’s a map with all of the cities marked:
Google Fiber’s Potential Impact
There has been a lot of speculating with the impact having such high speeds on technological and business development, but for the sake of this post I’ll just focus on more near future and ground level view.
While I think most families will not be needing the full capacity of the network, I believe there are plenty of practical benefits to having Google Fiber in the area:
Better Prices/Services: Having Google Fiber means having more choices when it comes to internet service. Currently the big players in this area are Time Warner Cable and CyberLink. More competition can mean better deals for residents; AT&T has started promoting a faster service in Austin, TX (which is getting Google Fiber installed now).
Job Opportunities: To get this fiber service up and running, there will have to a slew of people working to get the infrastructure in place.
Raise Property Value: For those areas that get the service, owners may see their property value rise as more potential buyers may be keen on getting in.
As great as this seems, there are some limitations. Even if Google selects the Raleigh/Durham area, it does not mean that every neighborhood in all the cities will get it. Google will be focusing on ‘fiberhoods’ and building by demand – looking at areas where they is both a desire for their service and a substantial population.
However, Google is offering free internet access to certain institutions such as schools and libraries. This means that even if neighbors do not sign up for the service, there may still be hubs around the community that will give residents access.
Google Fiber ‘s Service Plans
One of the complaints customers have had with their cable and internet service is the price of their services. Even with bundled discounts, some customers are paying $80-$150/month to get internet services with significantly lower speeds (15-30Mbps).
What are Google’s plans? While its too early to give out numbers for the proposed cities, looking at what Google is currently offering in Kansas City and Provo can give a reasonable idea of what to expect.
Free Internet: Yes, there is an option to receive internet service at current speeds (Up to 5 Mbps download & 1 Mbps upload speed). While there is no monthly fee for it, there is a $300 construction fee. You can pay it upfront or you can break it up in a year ($25/month). This free internet is guaranteed for at least 7 years for each address.
Gigabit Internet: For $70/month, customers can get up to 1 gigabit (both for download and uploads).
Gigabit Internet + TV: Google offers their internet service with over 200 TV channels for $120/month, with a Nexus 7 included the package to serve as your remote (and more).
Right we pay for internet service since I need it for my job as I’m self-employed and have clients and partners around the country (and a few outside). My husband also uses it as he has needed to work remotely from time to time. As I have mentioned before we also use the internet for Netflix and Amazon, which eliminated the need to continue our cable service. Looking at Google’s price for Internet for an additional $10/month we could have much faster service.
Thoughts on Google Fiber
Personally, I’m excited about this possibility and hope that the Triangle area is chosen. How about you? How many of you are in one of the 34 cities looking to get Google Fiber? What are some things you are looking forward to (or you’re concerned about)? If you want to get more information about Google Fiber, you can sign up for updates.
One of the best things you can do for yourselves when buying a home is getting a top notch home inspector.
While a great real estate agent can help you find a beautiful home, a great inspector can give you some peace of mind with making sure the house is ready to be a home for you and your family.
Why You Want an Inspection
Lenders have appraisals done on homes for the benefit of the seller, to help make sure that the house in sell-able condition.
They will go ahead and estimate the market value of a house based on the comparable sales in the neighborhood and the house’s condition.
Home inspections are to protect the buyers and with this probably being the biggest purchase in your life, you want to make sure you’re getting a good deal.
Few things can drain a wallet faster than extensive (and expensive) home repairs.
A well trained home inspector will evaluate the house in more detail, looking at the structure and mechanical systems and identifying anything that needs to be repaired or replaced.
What to Expect with a Home Inspection
If you’re a first time home buyer, you may be wondering how exactly does a home inspection work.
While it can vary somewhat depending on the condition of the house, there are some general guidelines that have to be followed by licensed inspectors.
Inspections can take a few hours as the inspector is looking over the house from top to bottom and may need to dig in deeper if they see something that could be a problem.
Here are just some of the items that your home inspector will be reviewing:
Exterior: The house’s windows, siding, gutters, decks, and walkways will be looked over.
Roof: The inspecting will be keeping a close eye on the materials, chimney (if applicable), and drainage system.
Structural: Walls, floors, and foundations are checked for damage
Heating and Air-Conditioning Systems: The home’s furnace, duct-work, and central air are carefully investigated.
Plumbing: Your inspector will make sure the toilet, sinks, and faucets are functioning properly.
Electrical: The house’s wiring, central panel, and main panel will be reviewed to make sure they are safe.
Please keep in mind that cosmetic work doesn’t fall under the home inspection; those are things that can be handled by most homeowners and are relatively cheap to fix. The home inspector’s focus is on the function of your potential home.
Try to be present for the home inspection, besides gaining a better understanding of the home from a professional (which you will certainly need if you intend on buying the place), you can also ask questions and have him or her explain to you which problems are major and which ones are not.
Some uninformed buyers make the mistake of complaining over some small matter and completely miss a bigger problem because they couldn’t gauge a repair’s importance properly.
Soon after the physical inspection, you and your agent should receive a written summary and report from the home inspector.
You can use that information in your negotiations, either having the seller fix the items before you buy or having them lower the price accordingly.
How to Find a Home Inspector
Now that you understand how valuable having a home inspection is when it comes to buying a house, you may be curious about finding the right one for you.
Ask for references. Ask your friends, family, or co-workers if they recommend anyone local. If they don’t have have a suggestion, make sure you ask the inspector for references from recent clients.
Don’t go solely on price. I completely understand not wanting to overpay, but do not choose your inspector simply based on the price they quote. You’re about to make a huge purchase so consider it a wise investment to know exactly what you are getting yourself into.
Make sure they are properly insured. Just as licensing is important, you want to double check that your home inspector has insurance.
Thoughts on Home Inspections
If you’re in the market to buy, I hope these tips help you find a home that fits your needs. For those who have already gone through the process, what tips do you have on finding a well qualified home inspector?