“The next chapter starts here”
“100 times faster Internet”
“100 times the possibilities”
Today, July 26, 2012, marked a new, incredible chapter of the Internet. Roughly a year ago, Google decided to start installing fiber optic cables in central Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, to provide the fastest residential Internet the world has ever seen. Google announced today what they plan to do with the Internet at these insanely high speeds, a product they call Google Fiber.
Patrick Pichette, Google’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, spoke about where the Internet has come from beginning with slow dial-up connections and listening to the beeps of the a modem, to today’s broadband access, where we can easily access emails, download music, stream videos, and socialize on a grand scale. He spoke about how the Internet has revolutionized the way we do things today and has essentially made our lives much easier. “If you think about it, one of the most important parts of what the web is doing is it’s a cornerstone for innovation, for economic development, and frankly, job creation, which is something…we all want”.
He also discussed how Moore’s Law postulates that computing power grows exponentially, doubling every 18 months. Storage size has been following a very similar curve. Internet speeds unfortunately have not been keeping up with the previously mentioned curves. Internet speeds had been following Moore’s Law up until about twelve years ago. Since then, speeds have roughly leveled out with a few small increases made. With Google Fiber, he hopes to correct this.
After Pichette was finished with his speech, Milo Medin stepped up to the plate. He discussed what Google Fiber is. He said that Google Fiber’s Internet speed is one gigabit per second. It is also a symmetric gigabit, meaning that, “you can upload as fast as you can download.” He went on to say that it is, “Internet that is 100 times faster than what most Americans have today”. The average American household today has only 5.8 megabits per second download and 1.2 megabits per second upload. These numbers seem insignificant when compared to Google Fiber’s download and upload speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. Today, the United States ranks only thirteenth in the world for average Internet speed, and it is the second highest ranked nation for the cost per megabit averaging $1.10. He went on to say “I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met someone who said, ‘My internet connection is too fast’. We want to change that”.
Medin explained that one of the best ways to use a one-gigabit-per-second speed is to utilize cloud data storage. Google has decided to include one terabyte of cloud storage with its fiber product. He also unveiled a new product to be used with Google Fiber: Google Fiber Television.
Google Fiber TV acts much like a regular cable or satellite subscription in that it lists the channels and what shows are playing on those channels at specific times. Google Fiber TV also has a search function for shows, and it searches for a specific show on all TV sources: “live channels, your DVR recordings, the on-demand library, and Netflix.” The search can display shows that are readily available, future airings, and past airings. It also has a smart record function that will record all episodes that will air in the future on every channel. One can record up to 500 hours of shows and movies.
There will also be a Fiber TV app that can be downloaded to Android or iOS devices which can use as a universal TV remote. With it you will be able to search for shows by typing in the search box or using the voice search feature and play them on any TV that you choose. On an upcoming version of the Fiber TV app, you will be able to actually watch TV with the app on a smart phone or tablet. Also, Google is working on a way to be able to tune in to a show from a posting on any social networking site, comment on the show, and share the video while watching it.
There are a number of devices that Google uses to distribute Internet access throughout one’s home. A Network Box is connected to the wall and has gigabit routing with four gigabit Ethernet ports, high performance Wi-Fi, a gigabit firewall, and simple network management. There is also a Storage Box that connects wirelessly to your various devices. It can record up to eight shows at once; it has two terabytes of storage, and it can record up to 500 hours in HD. Finally, there is a TV Box you can use to watch all content in full 1080p HD. It has a built-in Wi-Fi access point and is Bluetooth enabled. They will also distribute a Nexus 7 Tablet to be used as a remote. With it you can search for any show, and you can use it to watch any show on any TV throughout your house. It has a built-in social experience so you can post about what you’re watching. The Nexus 7 is to be included with the Google Fiber TV package at no extra charge.
Kevin Lo, General Manager for Google Access, explained how someone can get Google Fiber at their home. First of all, there is a $300 construction fee for connecting a fiber optic cable to your home and setting up and installing all of the devices properly. This may seem rather costly at first, but studies have been conducted showing that having a fiber optic cable connected to your home increases its value somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000.
There will be three different Internet-access packages available to consumers. The Gigabit + TV package includes up to a one-gigabit upload and download connection, full-channel TV lineup, no data caps, a Nexus 7 Tablet, a TV Box, a Network Box, a Storage Box, and a 1 Terabyte of cloud storage on Google Drive. This package will cost $120 a month for a two-year contract, and the construction fee is waived. The second package is the Gigabit Internet package, which includes the one-gigabit connection, no data caps, one terabyte of cloud storage, and a Network Box. It costs $70 a month for a one-year contract and the construction fee is waived. The final package is mainly for those who do not already have access to the Internet or are not ready for a one-gigabit connection. This is the Free Internet package. It includes a connection of up to 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, no data caps, and a Network Box. It’s free for at least seven years as long as you pay the construction fee of $300. That can be paid up front or as monthly installments of $25 for a year.
Google, as part of its expansion process for Google Fiber, has two criteria that it is following to ensure that the Kansas City citizens who want it the most are getting it first:
- Build out if there’s enough interest
- Build in the order of most interest
Google is currently conducting a six week rally in which people vote and try to rally their communities so they can get Google Fiber. Google has broken down the Kansas Citys into equally distributed neighborhoods of about 800 househoolds. They call these "Fiberhoods." To vote for your Fiberhood, you need to go to google.com/fiber and preregister if you’re in a qualifying area. In order for a Fiberhood to receive Google Fiber, they need to have at least 80 votes. If a Fiberhood is eligible to receive Google Fiber, Google will set up its Gigabit service for schools, libraries, emergency services, community centers, and government buildings for free. The rally ends September 9, 2012.
Google has also set up a center called Fiber Space so people can learn more about Google Fiber. It opens on Saturday, July 28, at 1814 Westport Rd., and you need to register before hand if you want to go. If you want to check out the online announcement that was made today, you can watch it here.
I am very excited about what Google wants to do with our city. Hopefully Google will expand to businesses and into more of the greater Kansas City area very soon. The possibilities that you can do with a one-gigabit connection are practically endless. What would you do to utilize this incredibly high speed?