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Google (s goog) launched its fiber to the home network today and the biggest surprise is probably that the gigabit speeds are aimed at consumers only. The search giant’s fiber network, which will cost $70 for Internet only and $120 for fiber plus TV, is a killer wrapper for Google’s cloud, consumer and tablet products, some of which will be included in the fiber and TV package.
The pricing details
There will be three packages available to Kansas City residents, all of which will require a $300 connection fee to help cover the cost of connecting the home to the fiber infrastructure:
Google Fiber+TV: This package includes symmetrical gigabit (the same broadband speeds on the upload and download side) speedsas well as the newly launched Google TV product, which includes local channels, integration with YouTube and Netflix as well as what Google calls “fiber channels.” It doesn’t sound like this package involves traditional pay TV channels such as ESPN or Disney.
The package includes a Nexus 7 tablet, which will be used a remote control for the TV, although residents will also get a traditional Bluetooth remote control as well. Google will also release an iOS app for controlling the Google Fiber TV product on iPhones or iPads. A variety of sleek, black boxes such as a Wi-Fi router and a 2-terabyte storage box will also come with this package as well as a free terabyte of storage in Google’s cloud locker, G Drive. The total cost for this package is $120 per month and if customers sign a two-year contract Google will waive te $300 connection fee.
Google Fiber: For those that don’t care for the TV package and just want a gigabit connection, there’s a package that includes the free terabyte at GDrive as well as a Wi-Fi router. This package costs $70 a month and for users who sign a 1-year contract Google will waive the $300 connection fee.
Free “average” Internet: In what may be the most disruptive announcement, and is also an indication of Google’s desire to connect as many people as fast as possible to the network, it will offer 5 Mbps download speeds and 1 Mbps upload speeds for free to any household in the fiber footprint. Those homes can’t waive the construction fee, but Google will let them pay $25 a month if the sign an annual contract.
OMG, when can people get this?
Google has a somewhat complicated plan to determine where it will deploy the fiber. It has divided the city into “fiberhoods” with roughly 800 homes in each one. Residents of those ‘hoods will have the next six weeks to get their neighbors on board and signed up to buy Google Fiber and Google will then deploy fiber to the neighborhoods with the highest number of committed residents. It’s similar to the method Google used to select a town to deploy Google fiber, and makes a ton of sense when it comes to recouping the costs of deploying fiber.
So consumers of Kansas City will get Internet access with products and services that could tremendously undercut the Internet access businesses of Time Warner Cable and AT&T, which are the dominant ISPs in the area. But businesses will have to wait.
The lack of business access seemed to dismay some Kansas City businesspeople in chats with some of them ahead of the event. Others tried to put a positive spin on the news, such as Perry Puccetti, the CEO of Triplei and the head of KCnext, tech trade organization in Kansas City said, “Google Fiber’s initial focus on residential customers, and mobile workers is exciting, and, as the CEO of a small technology consulting firm we look forward to the day we have access as well.”