Are you ready for Google the cable company? Kansas City was the chosen community to work with Google to integrate gigabit speed broadband access by running fiber throughout the city. Today, the company announced their residential plans for both gigabit internet and TV service.
Since Google TV already exists, Google is branding the whole package as Google Fiber. It includes gigabit internet access and TV. Business plans will be announced at a later date and the exact time frame to begin connecting homes has not yet been announced.
Utilizing Google Fiber introduces a few new pieces of hardware to keep the speed at the gigabit level once it is inside your home. The network box connects to the fiber line coming inside the premise. It is a gigabit router with a WiFi access point and a fast firewall to keep up.
The Storage box operates as a DVR and is a central DVR for all TVs to access. It can record 8 shows at once and has two terabytes/500 hours of HD recording space. From the Storage Box, the system uses the existing coax in your home to reach each TV.
The TV box is low profile and sleek. It has YouTube and Netflix access built in and shows your content in HD on your TV. Additionally, it acts as a WiFi access point to improve your coverage throughout the house. It also works with Bluetooth accessories like stereo headphones.
The remote for controlling your Google Fiber TV is a Nexus 7. Google is including it as a part of the TV package at no extra charge. More than one Nexus 7 can be used in conjunction to share the TV experience or control various TVs. The Google Fiber app allows you to search guides, lists, and everything else. It also allows a “watch anywhere” experience to take your recorded shows on the go and incorporates social experience.
For all the hardware, updates happen in the background, using the “constantly improving” mentality Google has successfully embraced with other products like Chrome.
To get the fiber to your home, Google is charging a $300 fee to bring the gigabit speeds from the street to your home. It will include a technician meeting with you to get everything in-house setup.
The bundled packaged of Gigabit Internet and TV access is $120/month. It runs at 1 gig up/down, the full TV package, no data caps, a Nexus 7 tablet as your remote, a TV Box, Network Box, and Storage Box, and 1TB of space on Google Drive. You get this price if you sign a 2 year contract and the $300 construction fee will be waived. During the presentation, Google did not specify which channels would be carried on the lineup but there is only one TV package available with premium movie channels available for an extra monthly cost. Skimming, the presentation mentioned all the local channels and a hundred favorite channels would be carried.
If you don’t want to go with TV included in the bundle, you can get just gigabit Internet for $70/month. It includes the same broadband specs but only the Network Box. If you sign a 1 year contract, the $300 construction fee is waived.
The final residential package is to encourage people to get their homes ready for fiber installation now while Google can do them in bulk. If you pay the $300 construction fee, Google will hook up your home and provide free Internet access at 5Mbps down and 1Mbps up for at least 7 years.
Google is taking the same approach it used to find Kansas City as to find the neighborhoods that are most interested in Fiber. Kansas Citians can pre-register for a $10 fee at google.com/fiber to lobby their interest in getting Google Fiber. Once registered, you can choose your desired package and schedule your installation, once Google gets to that point. The timeline for pre-registering starts today and goes for the next 6 weeks until September 9th.
Google is using the cute term ‘fiberhoods’ to define the neighborhoods in Kansas City, Kansas and central Kansas City, Missouri. A fiberhood is a segment of existing neighborhoods and consists of about 800 neighbors. To meet the minimum, about 50-80 individuals are needed to signup. Once a fiberhood meets the minimum, it will get fiber installed eventually but Google will be going in the order of highest demand first. A leaderboard will be used to show top neighborhoods so interested individuals will go around and rally their neighbors to join in.
Along with the residential build out, Google will be connecting schools, libraries, government buildings, community services buildings, and public safety buildings and will be providing them (over 200 in the first rally) free gigabit connectivity.
To let the community make an informed decision, Google will be holding workshops but will also have a Fiber Space open at select times to show off the capabilities of gigabit speeds through partnerships with schools, medical institutions, sports organizations, and local businesses.