Google has hand picked Austin as its next destination to wire homes with ultra-fast Internet connections. However, it is still unknown as to how much cash the customers may have to shell out. When it expands elsewhere in the USA. So far, Austin and Kansas City are the only places to get Google Fiber. Google fiber a broadband service that is 100 times faster than the competition and an alternative to cable or satellite TV providers. This could spell trouble for cable and satellite TV providers.
No doubt, the roll out is an expensive undertaking and gamble for Google, as Google still has to check if their costly new broadband pipelines will be able to withstand “gigabit” speeds. Google aims to put pressure on phone and cable companies to improve its networks ad Google gains when more people spend more time online. Google expects Austin homes to begin receiving Google Fiber in mid-2014.
“Equipping them with a gigabit network will allow them to build new kinds of applications and services that will help write the next chapter in the story of the Internet,” said Milo Medin, Google’s vice president of Access Services who heads up Google Fiber. What Austin residents will pay is not yet known. Medlin said the prices will likely be “roughly” similar to what Google charges in Kansas City, where customers pay $70 a month for a gigabit connection. For another $50, customers there can also receive a cable TV-like service that offers a channel line-up featuring mainstays such as ESPN, Nickelodeon, FOX News and MTV.
Google is charging $70 fee in Kansas City is more than what cable or phone companies charge for basic Internet service, but the service is much more speedy. The “Gigabit” speeds, or 1,000 megabits per second, record is yet to be broken by other companies, the only exception being the city-owned electric utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., which has pulled its own fiber and sells gigabit service for $350 per month. Kansas City residents can sign up with Google for a slower, standard Internet connection as well at no monthly fee for a one-time cost of $300. Medlin said Austin homeowners will also be offered free standard broadband.
It is costlier to pull optical fiber as compared to using existing phone and cable lines to provide Internet service – Verizon Communications Inc., being the only major U.S. telecommunications company having done so. Some Wall Street analysts have estimated that project, which has cost $23 billion, is not paying off.Medin has still not revealed as to when Google might announce its next target city to receive its much sought-after network. Google says more than 1,100 cities applied starting in 2010, but Kansas City wound up prevailing, and Google began signing up residents there last year. By the end of 2013, Google expects that the on demand service for the180 select neighborhoods will be completed. Google made the announcement at a jazzy downtown warehouse building, where a giant video board greeted guests with “Hello, Austin. Goodbye, loading bars.”
It is not likely that the Gigabit customers might find a drastic change with basic activities, such as Web surfing or email. However higher speeds are most desirable for uploading, creating online backups and playing video that doesn’t buffer — what Google calls “instantaneous Internet.”
A report this week from analysts at Bernstein Research put the cost at $84 million for Google to pass through 149,000 homes in Kansas City, although Google has remained tight lipped about the cost. The authors of that report were also cynical. “In the end the effort would have limited impact on the global trajectory of the business,” the Bernstein report concluded.