Do you want to be in a Fiberhood?

Google’s at it again. The company that brought us Android and turned the mobile market upsidedown is now paving the way towards shaking up internet providers. Google Fiber is “a different kind of internet” according to their website.

And in usual Google fashion, that simple statement is saying a lot (and check out this video for Google's whimsical look at the history, and future, of internet access).

In April the FCC released its annual report on consumer broadband performance. In that report they cover all aspects of performance (upload and download speeds, latency, bursts, etc.) as well as consumer behavior when it comes to broadband plans. In 2012 consumers were adopting faster speed tiers in greater numbers than before. People are clearly hungry for more speed.

But the same report indicates that, “the goal, set out in the NBP, [is] that at least 100 million homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2015, and 100 Mbps by 2020.” The NBP, if you don’t know, is the government’s National Broadband Plan, an attempt to create a roadmap to ensure that the US has access to the internet at acceptable performance and pricing.

It appears Google thinks the “plan” to have homes operating at 100 Mbps by 2020 is, well, quaint. This September, neighborhoods in Kansas City will become Fiberhoods. Google decides which Fiberhoods get hooked up first, but once they are, the homes will receive 1 Gbps internet access for upload and download speeds (according to IGN that's the equivalent of an entire HD movie downloaded in 7 seconds). Google predicts it will take until the end of 2013 to completely finish the installations.

Kansas City won the right to be the first location of Google Fiber after competing with over 1,100 other cities. Of course there are requirements for the Fiberhoods. To start, enough people in each neighborhood need to pre-register with a $10 fee. If the neighborhood qualifies to become a Fiberhood, each resident then chooses their pricing plan and gets scheduled for installation. Currently there are three tiers for pricing:

  • One time fee of $300 for installation and free internet for at least 7 years (not at Gigabit speeds)
  • $70 per month for Gigabit internet with 1Tb of Google Drive storage ($300 installation fee waived with a one year contract)
  • $120 per month gets you Gigabit internet, a 1TB Google Drive plus Fiber TV service, a 2TB DVR (holds 500 hours of HD programming, and records 8 programs at a time), and a Nexus tablet that functions as the remote control for the system (again the installation fee is waived)

If you think about your current TV and internet bills those prices are right in line, if not better, than what most ISPs offer even in combined packages. The announcement has left many lamenting they don’t live in Kansas City.

Naysayers point out that technically there are many challenges facing Google in their effort to bring fiber internet to Kansas City. On top of the technical challenges, it would cost Google about $50 Billion dollars to create a network that compares to Verizon Fios according to Business Insider.

So the rest of us will have to wait and see what happens in Kansas City. Hopefully what happens in Kansas City, doesn’t stay in Kansas City.