Google Fiber is unveiled. And it sucks to be Time Warner Cable right now. But they already knew that.
Google is offering 3 packages in Kansas City - a gigabit Internet connection for $70/month, a TV + Gigabit Internet connection for $120/month, and a free Internet tier of 5/1Mbps (subject to a one time $300 connect cost). The first two packages also have the $300 connect fee but it is waived with a contract.
The details are available via DSL Reports and The Verge. There are several interesting enticements along with the connectivity.
Plans and pricing is here. I'm surprised at the number of television channels that are available on that package. Notable channels missing include Disney and ESPN, probably because ABC was trying to rake Google over the coals on pricing.
Neighborhoods will be competing to get enough presubscriptions to get connected (at $10 per potential subscriber). It will be interesting to see how this goes - the approach makes sense from a business perspective but could result in a patchwork of neighborhoods lacking access.
In short, this will be interesting to watch. How will Time Warner Cable respond? How enthusiastic will ordinary people be? Google's marketing talent is considerably more advanced than that of the local governments and small companies (Sonic.net) that first blazed this trail. Speaking of which, I have not yet seen how other service providers will be able to use this network, if at all.
The free 5/1 connection is interesting. For a massive company like Google, providing hundreds or thousands of 5/1 connections essentially has zero cost. This is also true of Comcast and CenturyLink, which is why they are profitable on those $10/month low-income packages.
This is not a Google experiment. Those running this project are expected to earn a profit. How Google chooses to calculate that, we do not know.
Our biggest fear with this project is that we will see communities looking to Google to solve their broadband problems rather than taking responsibility for themselves. Google has done much to improve broadband in the U.S. and should be recognized as helping residents and businesses get beyond the pathetic last-generation broadband connections offered by cable and DSL companies. We hope they succeed but continue to believe that communities are better served by owning their own network.
If I were moving south of Minnesota in the near future, it would be to Chattanooga or Lafayette, not Kansas City. Who knows what Google will be doing in 5 years? We know exactly what EPB and LUS will be doing.
With a new supportive city manager in office, Cambridge city leaders have agreed to continue to investigate the options laid out in a recently published feasibility study. The study found that for Cambridge to construct a financially sustainable citywide fiber network “a significant public contribution would be required” of between $150 and $200 million.
After decades of frustration, Block Island residents are finally getting access to affordable, next-generation broadband. The Island’s freshly-launched BroadbandBI fiber network is not only utterly transformative for island residents, it’s the first municipal owned and operated broadband network in Rhode Island history.
The Port Of Whitman County is one of several rural Washington communities set to nab another major infusion of broadband grants courtesy of federal Covid disaster relief. A fresh infusion of $1.1 million announced last week will help the County expand a five city (Palouse, Garfield, Oakesdale, Tekoa and Rosalia) fiber expansion project to 104 unserved homes.
Quincy, Massachusetts is moving full speed ahead on a long-percolating plan to bring faster and more reliable broadband to a community long neglected by regional telecom monopolies. If successful, the resulting open access fiber network should dramatically boost competitive options in the city, driving down costs for what many view as an essential utility.
The Cleveland, Tennessee city council has approved the creation of the Cleveland Utilities Authority, the first step in allowing the city-owned utility to get into the broadband business. Of the initial $72 million investment, $64 million will be funded by public-issued debt, and go towards construction of the network, which Cleveland Utilities states should begin in March of 2024 and be completed in “roughly two to three years” barring complications.
With the construction of its 65-mile dark fiber backbone nearly complete, city officials in Boulder, Colorado are now ready to move into the next phase of their plan: build out a citywide fiber network. Last week, the city issued a Request for Information (RFI) “to gauge the interest of for-profit and nonprofit entities in forming a public–private partnership (PPP) with the city to make Gigabit per second-class bandwidth available to all Boulder homes and businesses.”