Google Fiber is part of the Access division of Alphabet Inc. (In case you didn’t know, Alphabet Inc. is a conglomerate that was created through a corporate restructuring of Google; Alphabet Inc. consist of Google and its subsidiaries) Google fiber provides a “Fiber-to-the-premises” service in the United States. It provides broadband internet and IPTV to a number of consumers spanning the United States. The user base of Google fiber is quite small but it is slowly expanding.
By 2016, Google Fiber had 68,715 television subscribers and was estimated to have about 453,000 broadband customers. Not a large number but that’s reasonable considering that at the time, Fiber was available in only 18 cities in the US. Google Fibre was intended to be released across the entire United States at first, however, in 2016, Google Fibre halted its expansion. There have been no further announcements about the status of its expansion since then. When asked about the possible expansion of the service, a Google Fiber spokesperson told Business Insider that “We do not have anything to share on expanding beyond our current markets at this time, Currently, we’re focused on providing a great customer service experience for customers in the areas where we are available.”
The list below shows the cities where fiber is available
- Atlanta, GA
- Austin, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Chicago, IL
- Denver, CO
- Huntsville, AL
- Kansas City, MO
- Miami, FL
- Nashville, TN
- Oakland, CA
- Orange County, CA
- Provo, UT
- San Antonio, TX
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Seattle, WA
- The Triangle, NC
Google has recently pulled Fiber out of a few other cities, including Boston, Massachusetts and Louisville, Kentucky. The most controversial withdrawal of Google Fiber was the Kentucky instance where Google will reportedly pay $4 million to the city over the next 19 months for damages resulting from a failed attempt to deploy the service. Even in the cities on this list, Fiber is not available in every location. To know if you are under their coverage, go to the Fiber website and type in your exact address to check availability in your area.
Fiber is especially popular because of its bandwidth. The average national for internet access in the US is about 11.5 Mbps Google Fiber blows the average out of the water by sporting speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps) at the highest tier of service.
However, like most broadband internet services, Google Fiber is a shared network, this means that the speed of your network generally depends upon how much data your neighbors are using at the same time. But because Google Fiber is built to support 1000 Mbps, the bandwidth is so high that it’s unlikely any individual customer’s bandwidth would be affected by other customers.
The pricing for service varies by region, but most Google Fiber customers can expect to pay about $50/month for 100 Mbps service and $70/month for 1000 Mbps. Google Fiber also includes an option for cable television, which adds about $90/month to the basic plan. In all cases, the pricing is all-inclusive and billed month-to-month, with no annual service contracts, fees for rental equipment, or monthly data caps.
Google fiber April Fool’s
Google has the custom, like most other companies out there, of playing practical jokes on its audience this tradition carries over in Fibre as there have been a number of instances where Google fiber fooled its customers.
- On April Fools’ Day 2007, Google hosted a sign up for Google TiSP offering “a fully functional, end-to-end system that provides in-home wireless access by connecting your commode-based TiSP wireless router to one of the thousands of TiSP Access Nodes via fiber-optic cable strung through your local municipal sewage lines.”
- On April Fools’ Day 2012, Google Fiber announced that their product was an edible Google Fiber bar instead of fiber-optic Internet broadband. It is stated that the Google Fiber bar delivers “what the body needs to sustain activity, energy, and productivity.”
- On April Fools’ Day 2013, Google Fiber announced the introduction of Google Fiber to the Pole. The description provided was “Google Fiber to the Pole provides ubiquitous gigabit connectivity to fiberhoods across Kansas City. This latest innovation in Google Fiber technology enables users to access Google Fiber’s ultra-fast gigabit speeds even when they are out and about.” Clicking on the “Learn more” and “Find a pole near you” buttons displayed a message reading “April Fools! While Fiber Poles don’t exist, we are working on a bunch of cool stuff that does. Keep posted on all things Fiber by checking out our blog.”
- The April Fools’ Day 2014 prank was an announcement of Coffee To The Home, using a spout on the fiber jack where the service enters the customer’s home to deliver customized coffee drinks.
- On April Fools’ Day 2015, Google Fiber announced Dial-Up Mode for people who prefer the slower Internet. It reaches speeds up to 56k and helps people get back to real life more often.
- For the 2016 April Fools’ Day joke, Google Fiber announced it was “exploring 1 billion times faster speeds
All the April fool jokes were outrightly declared as jokes on the same day.
Time Magazine has claimed that rather than wanting to actually operate as an Internet service provider, the company was just hoping to shame the major cable operators into improving their service so that Google searches could be done faster. Google has neither confirmed nor denied this claim.
AT&T and other Internet Service Providers have launched their own gigabit services since Google Fiber was revealed. Some cable subscribers have also had their speeds increased without additional costs.
According to a Goldman Sachs report, Google could connect approximately 830,000 homes a year at the cost of $1.25 billion a year, or a total of 7.5 million homes in nine years at a cost of slightly over $10 billion.
In January 2014 a bill was introduced in the Kansas Legislature (Senate Bill 304, referred to as the “Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investment Safeguards Act”) which would prevent Google Fiber from expanding further in Kansas using the model used in Kansas City. The bill proposes: “Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:
Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers.”
By February 2014, Senate Bill 304 (SB304) had lost momentum in the Kansas state senate, and the bill’s sponsor, Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association (KCTA), indicated that it is highly unlikely that it will continue to pursue the legislation in the current legislative session.