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Laying down the facts on Google Fiber

Google is entering the ISP space with their Fiber plans. Learn more about what it provides and how it works.

Having provided Internet services such as search, collaboration, and messaging for several years, Google is now offering fast Internet access/TV service in the form of Google Fiber. Described as "A different kind of Internet," Fiber is presently available only in Kansas City (both the Kansas and Missouri versions). However, Google Fiber is expanding to more Kansas locations as well as Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah (these latter cities having been picked just this month).

What does Google Fiber offer?

Fiber has a solid yet straightforward set of options:

  • 1Gb Internet speed
  • A Network box with integrated Wi-Fi Access Point
  • A TV box with 200 HD channels and Wi-Fi capability (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • A Storage box which can hold 2TB of content and provides DVR capability (eight programs can be recorded at once) as well as the ability for multiple TVs to recorded shows
  • A Nexus 7 tablet which includes a Google Fiber app which allows you to "use your mobile device instead of a traditional remote control to control the content playing on any Google Fiber TV in your home. You can also play some types of Google Fiber content directly on your mobile device using the Google Fiber mobile app." This app is also available for Androids (Jelly Bean or later) and iPads running 6.0 or higher.
  • 1Tb of Google Drive space

How is Google Fiber oriented towards businesses?

At the moment Google Fiber dwells exclusively within the consumer realm. Fiber Terms of Service prohibit users from running servers (although multi-player games, conference, and other "server capabilities" are allowed).

Google states "We are currently focused on our Fiber-to-the-home network, which is for residential consumers. For businesses located in qualified fiberhoods, we plan to introduce a small business offering shortly - stay tuned to google.com/fiber for more details." A Fiber plan for businesses would probably focus more on Internet/phone functionality and less on TV/DVR options. The business plan might also entail additional features involving bandwidth controls, remote access, uptime guarantees, and support packages.

On a related note, Google recently held a "Get Your Business Online" event offering free websites and domain name registration for small businesses. Although the event was oriented towards Kansas users, similar events in other locations are a possibility. Facilitating the growth of online business makes sense for Google in order to move into a position to provide Fiber business plans to customers.

How does Google set up their Fiber service for subscribers?

On their "Learn about your devices" page, Google states "first, we pull a fiber optic connection directly to your home and connect it to a Fiber Jack. Then, the Network Box takes the gigabit connection from the Fiber Jack and distributes the ultra-fast Internet inside your home... the Network Box has four gigabit Ethernet ports where you can plug in computers to get the highest speeds. It is equipped with great Wi-Fi, and although Wi-Fi is slower than a wired connection, we have built in an advanced Wi-Fi radio to allow you to get as much of the gigabit speeds as possible when you are not wired. Our firewall protects your home network from outside hackers but does not compromise on speed. You manage your network on the web, where you can control all your devices from a portal that is understandable by everyone. But you still have access to all the advanced configuration options, if you are a power user."

Google goes out of their way to make it clear that 1Gb Internet access speeds may not universally apply. They caution users that "you will not get the full 1Gig speed with wireless devices. In order to get the fastest possible network speeds, you must connect your computer or other device directly to the Network Box using an Ethernet cable." Other factors such as the age and configuration of the connected devices, Internet latency and the use of the TV video stream can impact Internet speed for attached devices.

Will Google snoop on my web access if I use Fiber?

The short answer: no more than any other ISP might.

The long answer: the Google Privacy Policy applies to Fiber, and this indicates that Google does collect information you give them, as well as information they get from your use of their services. There is also a Google Fiber Privacy Notice states that "We may also obtain and use information about our Fiber users from outside sources for marketing purposes (such as commercially available demographic, geographic, or interest information)."

The Fiber help page says "When you use Google products (like Gmail or Search) while connected to Google Fiber Internet, your information will be treated as usual... if you choose Google Fiber Internet as your service provider, information from Google Fiber Internet usage (like the URLs of non-Google websites visited or the content of emails sent using a non-Google email account) may be accessible to Google Fiber. This kind of Google Fiber Internet usage information won't be associated with your Google Account or accessed by Google unless we have your consent to do so or if an applicable law, regulation, legal process or enforceable governmental request requires us to do so."

How can I sign up?

I'll be the first to admit that, relatively speaking, Google Fiber is presently available to a very small group of people. As of April 2013, if you want Google Fiber you have to live in (or move to) one of the Kansas Cities, or wait for it to come to Austin or Provo if you reside there.

If you are one of the 600,000 people in the Kansas City areas, you can access Google Fiber's Cities page where you can enter your street address to check availability, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

You can also click "Get Started" next to any of the green locations to check the coverage map and see where Google Fiber is operating. For instance, Figure B shows availability in Kansas City, KS:

Figure B

Figure C shows where Fiber has been run in Kansas City, MO:

Figure C

Please note that if you live in an apartment Google requires you to get permission from your landlord or landlady to have Fiber installed.

What are the costs?

According to the Google Fiber help site, service plans and pricing are as shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Note that "free Internet" option (with a $300 construction fee) - it's free for seven years! It will be interesting to see if this is extended to business users when Fiber can accommodate them. All plans require a Google Account in order to configure Google Fiber options.

Where can I find out more?

There is a Google Fiber page which contains many useful details. Google also has set up a Google+ account, Facebook page, and a Twitter feed devoted to Fiber. They also have a blog site for the latest announcements.

Also read:

About

Scott Matteson is a senior systems administrator and freelance technical writer who also performs consulting work for small organizations. He resides in the Greater Boston area with his wife and three children.

27 comments
stano360
stano360

I have Fios now, so I guess I'm missing what the big deal is. Yes, 8 "tuners" is nice to record. But any internet experience that would gain from the 1Gps is the only one that's directly connected. The others are limited by wi-fi anyhow.


Of course, right now I pay $125 for TV/Internet/Phone, so Google isn't any cheaper either.


The answer is not Google (necessarily), but for city governments to stop creating internet monopolies in their cities.

BoyGenius24
BoyGenius24

Hopefully this service will be available to the East Coast soon.....

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

For $300 installation fee or $25/mo you get 5MBps down and 1 up. Not exactly a great offer at all. THat $300 install fee will also have a heap of hole in it, I'm sure as they always do. "Gee you have siding on your home", +$100, "you never said you had walls in your home too!" +$200, I made 4 Fibre splices +$150, that electrical tape is $99 per roll, it's for fibre. etc. All they have done is provide a different ISP pricing plan. We've had direct fibre here for almost a decade, it's a lot cheaper than that too.....after getting it to your home. I did mainly businesses with direct fibre though, and a few runs to owners homes. This is supposedly new and only available in a tiny area of Kansas though?

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

Existing corporate welfare issues not withstanding, Obama (as would anyone in his position) is talking of initiatives to update the country. In a free market, corporations will flock to anywhere that's profitable (though that depends on where wages allow prosperity for all) so when an area isn't profitable by default then other factors apply. Since companies do not want to pay fair wages for talent, it's quicker to get some lobbyists and juice the government until it's clean. Lobbying is cool, even if it has less to do with a democratic republic and more for a plutocratic oligarchy or corporatist state, but it's all good.

frylock
frylock

Sure you may not get the full 1Gb (I have a hard time pushing past 60% on my 1Gb LAN) but I'm guessing it would be noticeably faster than my current 1.5 Mb DSL.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

The price for service is amazing. It would be nice if this drove down prices for competing services, but I don't see Google fiber becoming a major competitor any time soon. At those prices I don't think they can generate enough profit to do a mass deployment. In my opinion it is more of a PR/Marketing strategy than truly an attempt to become an ISP. It would be really nice to live in those areas though! I'm curious about the 1 GB claim. To get that kind of bandwidth I believe that you need a dedicated fiber pair. Most fiber to the home deployments involve splitting the fiber at each drop which means that everyone on that drop shares the bandwidth (and there is some loss because of collision avoidance and fiber flaws). Bill

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I wouldn't be an early adopter, but I'd look into the details. Part of it depends on which 200 TV channels are included.

InfoStack
InfoStack

Do people really understand that Google is approaching the model horizontally in the lower layers in much the same way it's done in the middle and applications layers with Droid and Adsense? It's pricing to reflect marginal cost at every layer and boundary point. Doesn't anyone believe that the same optical switches being developed for the massively scaled data-center/cloud models that Google bases all its business on aren't going to infiltrate and fundamentally disrupt the transport and access layers? The future will be all about horizontal exchanges and intranets and the sooner Apple and MSFT figure this out and try and disrupt the vertically integrated information monopoly dinosaurs called cable and telcos, the sooner they'll see their growth resume. The past 30 years has just been a series of battles between the new digital, horizontally oriented entrants and the inefficient, over-priced vertically integrated, analog, monopolies.

W8ter
W8ter

Google has great potential but I refuse to do business with a company that consistently violates my trust. Their privacy policy is atrocious. The worst of any major tech company. And this whole debacle with the Google Street View car stealing info is just one example of Google Ethics. This will be the next headline: "Google caught using Google Fiber to steal your personal information off your home computers, recording all your phone calls, and tracking what you are watching on TV and selling it all to the highest bidder"

rduncan
rduncan

as a fellow system system administrator, reading an offer such as this often makes me wonder about network Infrastructure over the decades, when you think of the networks in the developed word such as power and water, sewage, telephony etc. - all the man hours that went into building the old dial up internet we all used back when the X-Files was in full swing! All the old telegraph poles for repeating signal that are part of our landscape, I suppose with fibre optic the house connection probably goes all the way back to the exchange without the signal needing to be repeated along the way?- we all want more bandwidth (sometimes) but apart from the 1GB connection I have the rest, also - sometimes its just a matter of having a few extra hosts around the house and connecting to the neighbours unsecured (or badly secured) wifi

yhk331
yhk331

I am truly amazed at what Google Fiber offers to their customer. I hope they will become mainstream internet!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

I'll wait for the NBN that delivers Fibre to the House and get the same result cheaper. ;) Col

Jeff7181
Jeff7181

I don't move a lot of data over my home connection, but it would be nice when I want to download a 3 GB Windows Server ISO or a new Linux distro ISO to be able to download it at 1 Gbps. It would also make cloud backup more practical when restoring data.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

If Google Fiber were offered in your city would you sign up for it? Why not?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Why do you assume this project is getting subsidized?

adornoe
adornoe

and it's the people in government who have decided against the will of the people to use money to subsidize any industry or business. If people were allow to vote on decisions for subsidies, chances are that, a huge majority would vote against those subsidies. Yeah, the money comes from the people and the corporations themselves. But, the use of government funds to subsidize anything, is done without the consent of the people, just like Obamacare was done without the majority of Americans approving. Obama is more about promises and speeches than really doing anything worthwhile and which will benefit the country. So, when he talks, people should walk. Nothing he's said or done have ever made the country better off. We will see a lot bigger negative repercussions down the line, for the things he's already done. We don't need for him to do any more damage. He's already the president with the most vacation days and the most leisure time, and that's just for his first 4 years. I wouldn't mind sending him on a permanent vacation, paid by the taxpayers, as long as he stays away from doing any more damage to the economy and the country. However, my wishes are just wishful thinking, because, even if the "president" is completely hands-off, the people who are really running the presidency, are those who have been using him as a puppet for the last 8 years. He's just a useful idiot for the radical liberals and the socialists who now control the democratic party.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

Okay its for 7 years but even today their "FREE INTERNET" is not a great bargain. It may work okay for a year but you'd soon get tired of such limited speeds. The 1GB is all gas from their a** though. It's just like any other shared service, you'd be lucky to get 3/4 of that, especially as the segment grows. Maybe for the first few it would be great but no point after that. I have 50MBps down and am lucky to get half that at the best of times, line conditioning and personal tests show I actually get some of the top speeds available in my area too. The same service never caught on here, in fact 2 ISPs I knew that did direct fibre are in other areas of the industry now. The difference between cheap and easy cable at a 100MBps and fibre boasted at 1GB is not actually that much. Fibre is quicker, undeniably, but is the cost difference actually worth it? I had Fibre when I lived on the island, installed at a HUGE expense by a telco, and it was no screaming hot, exciting trip. Sure it was a fair bit faster for transferring files, FTP etc. but for browsing it didn't make much difference, even downloading movies and music didn't make much difference. Bundled with my digital TV it was actually pretty fairly priced but I get much better value for money overall from my local cable/digital provider now, even if download speeds are a bit slower.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

I remember watching Ted Rogers hanging copper so he could offer long distance alternatives before LD deregulation. Meanwhile Sprint Canada (Call Net Enterprises) was running fibre in Toronto and a sonnet loop between BC and Alberta. With Ted Roger's Unitel service, you would have a black dialer box in the house and would use a 10 digit code BEFORE entering the 10 digit phone number. Now, since the creation of 'equal ease of access' and a few loops, everyone with a few bucks can be an LD provider, or ISP. Ted Rogers came out of it alright though, heading Rogers Communications now. Both copper and fibre are still imperative though, in North America anyway. The LEC's and CLEC's fought tooth and nail for years but it has since mellowed as they realize there's room for everyone. I remember people telling me, "You can't bring your American company up here (Sprint Canada)and put our boys out of work" "Our BCTel is here to stay!" What they didn't realize was that BCTel, was part of Stentor. An umbrella that included MOST, not all, of Canada's provincial telephone companies. Stentor was majority owned by GTE US, So in reality, our "local boys" were workign for an American company all along that had a monopoly of Canadian provincial phone services. Sprint Canada, was actually majority Canadian owned and operated (they began as Call Net, a detailed billing provider) and took a share from Sprint US to be able to use US fibre to carry LD. The reality with Canadian long distance was the absolute opposite of what most Canadians thought it was. Their LOCAL phone company was US owned and Sprint Canada, AT&T Canada etc. had to be Canadian owned and operated in order to enter the marketplace.

aidemzo_adanac
aidemzo_adanac

It took you 4 sentences to start slagging Obama, you are a true American hero! Politically focused to the 'nth degree, whether accurately informed of completely lost, you managed to rear the Left vs Right head faster than a hummingbird flaps it's wings. Such a great job you should pull out a gun and go shoot random stuff just to really salute your pride in america, well half of America...well some of America, anyway, there's plenty of people, just like you, to salute. One question though, probably a bit rhetorical, as you have downplayed Obama's abilities, you then slagged Liberals and Democrats, I must conclude that you are a conservative. A silver haired fighter for 200 year old American rights with no ability to look forward beyond the immediate or the past, with a view of America being how it was in the 1700's. That said, you had mentioned that Obama was [i]" completely hands-off, the people who are really running the presidency, are those who have been using him as a puppet for the last 8 years. He's just a useful idiot for the radical liberals and the socialists who now control the democratic party."[/i] Does that mean that you saw GWB as a man who spoke for himself, was not controlled by puppeteers who taught him how to complete a full sentence? He was not just a figurehead for America as she went down the slippery slope of unjust occupations and war? He had full bearing on where the country would end up today, as he focused on invading countries who had actually agreed to and eventually adhered to sanctions the US had placed up on them? Boy he was a good'un! Good ole George Walker, the country hasn't been the same without him...thank God. Gotta love the old Bushmeister, a man who stood on his own two feet and didn't parrot what he was fed by radical's claiming to be Conservative, not someone who sensationalizes every comment someone makes, whether in context or not. GWB spoke his mind (maybe why his speeches were so short and simple, while making no logical sense at all) and didn't take input from the cronies that Obama does. Nothing better than an elected fear monger to keep America in check and the people delusional. Way to go, mate, way to make a point!

rduncan
rduncan

..it's seems bizarre now but that kind of thing is still going on, network ownership is still the most lucrative asset, I couldn't believe my ears when I head the value of Vodafone last month $131.1B This is a massively regulated industry simply because of the vast sums a company can amass in a relatively short time, the return on investment must be HUGE no wonder Google are dipping thier toe in the water

adornoe
adornoe

And, after being "sub genius", you also get a D, for failing to understand which media sources lean one way or the other. CBS might as well be a subsidiary of the democratic party, since, they are in the pocket of that party. Contributions is not how one judges the bias of a media outfit. You judge them on how they cover the stories and which stories they refuse to cover. CBS, along with NBC and ABC, and and CNN and MSNBC, are owned and operated by liberals, up and down the ranks. When it comes to the makeup of the reporting staff, CBS is so far left that, if they went further left, they would fall of the left-right measuring stick. They are probably about 90% liberal when it comes to the reporting and hosting staff. Same with NBC and ABC and CNN. Those networks might as well be stationed at democratic party headquarters. CBS Interactive probably doesn't have anyone in a reporting/writer position that is republican or conservative. And, it's not just about the tech reporting. It's about the reporting that might have to bring in politics into the discussion. When a discussion brings up a political issue, the blogger/reporter/writer, ALWAYS displays a left-wing slant on the issue. When it comes to NewsCorp contributions to democrats, there is nothing wrong with that, and there is nothing wrong with most other media sources contributing to their preferred political party and/or candidates. However, it's highly doubtful that, any left-wing media source contributes more to republicans than to liberals. It's not likely and very improbable. When it comes to NewsCorp, it's just the parent company of FOX news, and what the parent company does is not totally representative of how FOX itself would contribute. However, none of your personal experiences with any of the CBS Interactive sites, is going to change the fact that, CBS and all of its subsidiaries are left-wing leaning. So, yes, CBS is, without any doubt whatsoever, a very liberal organization. Also, you don't know HypnoToad,whose comments are always left-leaning and highly protective of Obama and all liberals. I've had many discussions/arguments with him, and, his comments above are exactly as I interpreted them, and you aren't qualified to know any better. I know about big government, and I know about wrestling, and I know how to determined the difference between a liar and a truth teller, and between what's fake and real. I also know how to tell when I'm talking to a very naive person, who is incapable of detecting BS from a pile of lies; that kind of naivete is what you are displaying in your responses, thus far. If you can't detect the liberalism which is prevalent in the mainstream media, then you might as well be living in a cave. BTW, and as a test, how many minutes, or even seconds, has CBS or any of its subsidiaries, dedicated to the story about the late-term abortion doctor who is in court right now defending against murder charges? I'll bet you haven't even heard of the case, since you seem to be part of the liberal naive followers of such media sources as CBS. Now, go get educated about what's really happening all around you.

SubgeniusD
SubgeniusD

I've subscribed to the Daily Digest since 2007 (+ Linux/Open Source and IT Security). The articles I've read over the years have been tech focused without political shadings of any sort. A Fortune 500 left-wing propaganda machine? Yeah sure...in your warped reality. Now poke your head out of that propaganda fogbank for a second and get a dose of fact-based reality. CBS Corp 2012: PAC Contribution Data (35% to Democrats, 65% to Republicans). News Corp PAC 2012: $759,525 most of it going to Democrats. Democrats received $510,721, compared to $251,204 to Republicans. Only a hyper-ventilating paranoid could inflate HypnoToads' statement - "Obama (as would anyone in his position) is talking of initiatives" - into some sort of ringing endorsement of Obama, Democrats and radical socialism. America is governed by warring wings of the Big Government Party. We get Big Daddy or Big Mommy government. Google "Bush Was a Big-Government Disaster". And Obama is even worse. You obviously buy into the charade. You probably think professional wresting is real too.

adornoe
adornoe

since, this is TR, and along with other ZDNet and SmartPlanet, and properties, they're all owned by CBS Interactive; get it? CBS? CBS is a propaganda machine for the democrats, and it's a member of the left-wing media, and advocates for the democrats and Obama. Free Republic is a republican bastion for conservative discussions. IN a way, FR is not much different from CBS Interactive, except for opposing views. Now, fact is that, none of my comments would have found their way into this discussion had it not been for the original poster in this sub-thread who decided to espouse the "virtues" of Obama and democrats. My preference is to always keep politics out of any tech discussion, but, even the bloggers here are left-wing, and if you have not noticed their bias in many of their articles, then you haven't been here long, or you are blind.

SubgeniusD
SubgeniusD

Why don't all of you take your partisan shouting match someplace where people with too much spare time enjoy trading advocate talking points and parroting party propaganda.

adornoe
adornoe

who is no leader at all? I'm reiterating what I said, just so you don't go away with any doubts as to how I feel about the idiot occupying the White House. ;Now, if you had actually been reading the discussion, from beginning to end, and especially the post to which I responded, then you would have noticed that, it wasn't me who first brought up Obama into the discussion. Look up the post prior to mine, and see if you have enough gray matter to understand Hypnotoad72's post, and then mine. Notice his admiring devotion to the idiot in the White House. I just had to set the record straight for the fool, Hypnotoad. And, I hope I also set the record straight for you too. I didn't bring up Bush into this discussion, because, nobody else had. But, you did, and you had to attack Bush's actions without any real provocation. But, what did Bush do that he wasn't provoked into doing? There is absolutely no way that Bush could just let the terror attacks of 9/11 go unpunished. I'm pretty sure that Bush would've been content to just be reading to elementary school students (which is what he was actually doing at the moment of the attacks) than to have to respond to attacks on the homeland and go to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Hussein in Iraq. None of that was on his radar until the terrorist enemy came into the country producing the most damage to the homeland, ever! When it comes to Bush vs Obama, and their capabilities, one only needs to look at their history in order to determine their qualifications and abilities. Bush had a masters degree in business, whereas Obama supposedly got a degree in law, but that can't be confirmed since his school and college/university records are sealed and the American people can't get any real information about who Obama really was or is. He still has not produced a real birth certificate, even as he has produced 2 fakes. Obama can't hold a news conference without the teleprompter, and he can't speak without his handlers being close by to steer him straight, or feeding answers into his teleprompter. Bush, on the other hand, mistakes and all, did not need to use a teleprompter when he held a news conference. Obama even had to use a teleprompter when he visited an elementary school to speak with the kiddies. That's a real idiot, and that can't be denied. When it comes to real world experience, the most that Obama had was as a community organizer, but, even a middle-school kid, and even some sixth-graders can do that kind of job. Obama is the least qualified person to ever run for the presidency, and even after his first four years as president, he still didn't know what the heck was going on in Washington and in the world, as witnessed by his very poor performance in the presidential debates. He only won the race because he had a lot of assistance from the liberal media press, who advocated for him, and saved his butt whenever he got into trouble with any issue. When it comes to the founding fathers, I'd rather have them back steering the country in the right direction, than letting Obama and the democrats destroy everything this country ever stood for. Obama and the democrats are not just about destroying the economy and country, but they'd also like to destroy the constitution, or to change it completely. They're starting with the attempt to make the 2nd amendment completely useless, and they've tried in the past to diminish free speech and freedom of the press. Sorry, but, the only one coming into this discussion completely ignorant, and misinformed, is you. Brown-nosing Barack and the democrats won't make things better, and will only make things worse. It's better to not allow them to get away with anything, and I'm happy to perform that function. Now, go away and study up, because, you don't know squat.