A gigabit connection to the home for $70/month on a one year contract? I’d instantly take it if it were available where I live, but of course this is only in Kansas City where Google has been busy preparing its FTTH project. At long last, they went live with details today.
There’s a Google-TV option as well, bundled with the 1Gbps connection, for $120/month total. Both options come with 1TB of Google Drive storage, and an installation fee of $300 that they will waive if you sign up for a long enough contract.
Google has finally got around to making its point, which is simply that the US has been paying more per bit than they should and more than other developed countries. That much has long been true, as Asian and European connectivity has been looking increasingly inexpensive the faster they get. For whatever reason, we as an industry are not running residential fiber as well as we ought to be.
As for who gets the gigabit connections first, Google has arranged another of its ‘follow the people’ setups. KC residents will pre-register for $10, and when enough in an area (a fiberhood) sign up then Google will start putting in fiber. The biggest fiberhoods get fiber first.
There is a free tier too (for 7 years), which takes explicit aim at the ISPs around the country charging $40+/month for a mere 5Mbps broadband connection. You’d have to pay the installation fee though, which is like paying for more than four years of 1Gbps service anyway – so why bother?
Can any ISP go and do this? Well, the financials are currently opaque, and of course Google surely isn’t paying much for something like IP transit like a smaller company might, nor is it easy for mere mortals to get municipal cooperation at such levels.
But still, as cynical as I have been about Google’s motives etc at times, this looks like a heck of a network build that may make it all worth it. I sincerely hope the finances work so that it serves as an example for other last mile providers. After all, I don’t think Google is going to be replicating this all over the country anytime soon.