Google Fiber has finally arrived in Kansas City, offering crazy-fast broadband speeds and a new television service on both sides of the Kansas / Missouri state line. After hinting that it would be unveiled today, the company has made it official. Google is touting 1,000 Mbps download and upload speeds, positioning its service as "100 times faster" than traditional "broadband."
Google compared the growth in processing power and storage to internet speed, pointing out that the latter hasn't kept up with the former. Google believes that its fiber will put data access speeds on the same exponential growth curve, saying that a Gigabit is only the beginning of its plans. Google also pointed out that the US is well behind other countries in terms of both speed and pricing.
Google says there will be no monthly bandwidth caps, and no overages. It even comes with 1TB of cloud storage through Google Drive. But Google Fiber is more than just internet — it will also be a "great new TV experience." Google Fiber TV comes with a Bluetooth remote and a search interface that looks a bit like Google TV, but cleaned up and much simpler. It can record up to 500 hours of HD shows onto its 2TB drive, and allows for powerful search and discovery. Google is also making a remote app for both Android and iOS, which will allow for voice search, in a custom interface, but the app will also do video streaming "in an upcoming version."
Google detailed the Network box, which offers gigabit routing, Wi-Fi, four ethernet ports, and "simple network management." An identical-looking "Storage Box" wil have 2TB of storage that will act as the DVR for all devices in the house. Every TV will need a small TV box to interface with the other two pieces of hardware — it will work with Netflix and YouTube as well. It will also act as a Wi-Fi access point — "We're turning every TV into a Wi-Fi hotspot," Google says.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet is the remote for this service, and will be included at no extra charge with every TV package.
The costs starts with a $300 construction fee to get the fiber installed at your house. After that, there will be two kinds of packages for Google Fiber.
For $120 per month, the first package is the "Gigabit + TV" package with 1TB of storage, internet, and a single lump of all channels in a single bundle. It will include major broadcast networks, "hundreds" of "fiber channels," and on-demand movies and shows. Premium movie channels will still be an additional monthly fee. Google will waive the construction fee for new customers for a limited time.
A $70 per month Gigabit-only package will provide internet and the 1TB of cloud storage on Google Drive. For a limited time, Google is also offering a third package with "average" broadband speeds for *free*. It will be 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up, assuming they are willing to chip in on the construction fee for the fiber line.
These packages only apply to residential users — business prices weren't announced today.
As rumored, Google will deploy the fiber network in areas where there is most interest first, rather than plan the network out directly. Google is calling this each buildout a "rally," where Kansas City residents can vote by paying a $10 fee to preregister. Then, there's a "fiberhood" zone, where a minimum number of users need to preregister in order to have Google bring Fiber to that neighborhood. It seems like a rather complicated system, actually, but Google is likely hoping to get some grassroots support — and will be offering free Gigabit connectivity to schools to help. Google is making a demo by-reservation-only "Fiberspace" to demonstrate how fast its fiber connection is. Customers will have until September 9th for the first "rally."