Google Launches Google Fiber Service in Kansas City

Not happy with your 5Mb/s internet connection?  How does 1Gb/s sound instead?  Our viewers in the Kansas city area have a front row view to Google’s vision of the future of telecommunications in Google Fiber.  In fact, you might even have the opportunity to be a guinea pig.  In case you’re thinking you read that wrong, you didn’t.  Google is getting into the internet and TV provider business.

Google Fiber Specs

I’ll get into the details here right away.  The Fiber service is 1Gb/s both up and down.  The pricing is an astonishingly reasonable $70 bucks per month if you want just data or $120 if you also want television service.  The catch is a $300 construction fee to pay for infrastructure.  This can be waived if you agree to a 1 year contract for internet or 2 years for the bundle.  There is also a free internet option with a 7 year guarantee at 5mb/s down and 1mb/s up.  The $300 construction fee also applies here, but there is an option to pay it off at $25/mo for the first year.  There is no phone service, business or residential, whatsoever.  The channel lineup is pretty standard, but has some notable exclusions such as those owned by Disney and Time Warner.  A list of exceptions can be found in this article from the Verge

Okay, there’s also a second catch.  Google is building the infrastructure from scratch.  It isn’t worth their while unless there are enough people in a geographic area sign up.  Google has divided the two Kansas Cities (both MO and KS) into what it calls Fiberhoods.  To drum up support, Google has started a pre-registration campaign.  This campaign, which goes until September 9th, pits Fiberhoods in competition with each other for construction spots.  Those with the most pre-registrations will get the first construction spots.  Those who don’t sign up enough are left out in the cold for now.

Tech Behind Google Fiber

Now, let’s talk about the technology and perks.  The core of the system is what Google calls the Network Drive.  It’s Fiber’s version of your combination modem and access point.  You get a 4-port gigabit ethernet switch and a/b/g/n wireless protocols with dual concurrent radios.  Paid users also get an whopping 2TB of Google drive space.

Those going with the television service get a 2TB storage drive good for 500 hours DVR storage and 8 simultaneous recordings. The drive itself is connected via networking over existing coaxial cable.  The TV set top box offers everything you could want and more.  All units are HD so unlike traditional providers, there is no extra fee there.  For maximum flexibility there is a full array of HDMI, component, and composite video ports, S/PDIF optical audio, and full Bluetooth connectivity.  What makes this extra special is that it also acts as a access point extending your wireless and wired network to all reaches of your home.  Customers also get a Nexus 7 tablet free of charge.

Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS residents can pre-register now for a $10 fee.  Exact availability is unknown, as are plans to offer this in other markets.  Google also has set up the Fiber Space for prospective customers wanting a first hand look.

(via Ars Technica and Google Fiber)