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Last night I got an email alerting me that Google Fiber is expanding and the Raleigh/Durham area is on the list as a potential location.
Right now the company is talking with mayors in nine metro areas across the country, evaluating the current infrastructure and examining the feasibility of bring their service.
What is Google Fiber?
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 are 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.
Photo Credit: Google Fiber