Google has begun connecting homes in Kansas City to its Google Fiber broadband network.
In a Nov. 13 posting on its Google Fiber Blog, the search-engine giant explained the stages involved in connecting houses in select Kansas City neighborhoods to the ultra-fast service. Installing Google Fiber in a particular home involves a visit from an installer, who connects the necessary cable to various devices. A Nexus 7 tablet serves as the in-home network’s remote control.
Google first revealed Google Fiber in July, claiming it would deliver the Web at speeds up to 100 times faster than current broadband services. At the time, it encouraged Kansas City residents to pre-register, claiming that it would only install in areas that demonstrated sufficient interest. That pre-registration “rally” extended into September.
The three Google Fiber packages include Gigbit + Google Fiber TV, which costs $120 per month and offers hundreds of high-definition television channels and 2TB of DVR storage; Gigabit Internet, which offers 1TB of cloud storage on top of gigabit Internet speeds, and costs $70 per month; and free Internet, which costs zero per month, features slower connection speeds (5 Mbps per second), and requires a $300 construction fee (not present in the other two options).
In a blog posting over the summer announcing the project, Google claimed that ultra-fast Internet would significantly benefit consumers and businesses alike. “Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the Web,” it wrote. “Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven’t even dreamed of, powered by a gig.”
Ultra-fast Internet could also benefit Google, which continues to draw the bulk of its revenues from online advertising. Speed up Web connections, and people are more likely to display and download more content on their devices; and with more content comes the potential for more advertising. As Google seeks for new competitive avenues against determined rivals like Apple and Microsoft, citywide networks delivering speedy Internet could give it something of an advantage. But an expansion of Google Fiber will almost certainly depend on how well this Kansas City experiment works out for the company.