Never one to shrink from an entrenched rival, Google is getting serious about becoming a premier provider of high-speed bandwidth, setting itself up for a potential battle with cable-giant Comcast.
On Wednesday, Google announced that it will extend Google Fiber to more than 30 new communities around the U.S. The promise for consumers in these communities: gigabit Internet that provides networking connectivity at speeds 100 times faster than what most of us live with today,” according to Google. And for a fraction of the cost of traditional options.
We’ve long believed that the Internets next chapter will be built on gigabit speeds, so its fantastic to see this momentum,” said Milo Medin, VP of Google Access Services, in a blog posted Wednesday. And now that weve learned a lot from our Google Fiber projects in Kansas City, Austin and Provo, we want to help build more ultra-fast networks. So weve invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S.34 cities altogetherto work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber.”
The idea, of course, is to provide Google a toehold in connectivity while providing local business leaders and educators a means for spurring innovation, driving economic growth and improving education.
Before Goggle can make its dreams a reality, it is working with community leaders in more than 30 cities including San Antonio; Salt Lake City; Atlanta; Portland, Ore.; Nashville; and Phoenix to see what has to be done from a planning and construction standpoint.
Were going to work on a detailed study of local factors that could affect construction, like topography (e.g., hills, flood zones), housing density and the condition of local infrastructure. Meanwhile, cities will complete a checklist of items that will help them get ready for a project of this scale and speed. For example, theyll provide us with maps of existing conduit, water, gas and electricity lines so that we can plan where to place fiber. Theyll also help us find ways to access existing infrastructure like utility poles so we dont unnecessarily dig up streets or have to put up a new pole next to an existing one,” says Medin.
What Googles long-term plans for Google Fiber are arent yet clear. But reporting in The Wall Street Journal raised one interesting scenario: ” Some in the media industry have long regarded the venture as an experiment, aimed at motivating broadband providers to boost their speeds. Building a fiber network is enormously costly, even for as deep pocketed a company as Google.”
For a clearer look at what consumers can expect, look to the companys new brick and mortar Google Fiber Space store in The Shops at Riverwoods in Provo, Utah. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Google Fiber officially launched in Provo on Jan. 24.
Google is offering three plans for Provo residents, starting with a free plan that gets you Internet speeds of 5 megabits download and 1 megabit upload for seven years,” The Tribune reported. There is a 1-gigabit per-second download and upload Internet-only plan for $70 per month. And for $120 per month, customers can have the 1-gigabit Internet connectivity plus cable television.”