Google moves into broadband with Kansas fibre

Google made its foray into the US broadband market, promising access speeds more than 100 times faster than those of traditional cable companies.

Google moves into broadband with Kansas fibre

The ultra-high speed Google Fiber service was unveiled in Kansas City, Missouri, with installations starting in September, executives said. Google hopes to roll out the service to other cities later.

“Access is the next frontier that needs to be opened,” Google chief financial officer Patrick Pichette said. “We’re going to do it profitably. That is our plan.”

“We are at a crossroad,” he added, noting that internet speeds had leveled out for broadband since around 2000. “We at Google… believe there is no need to wait.”

Access is the next frontier that needs to be opened

Google said it also intends to roll out product packages for businesses, but would not provide details.

Google Fiber costs $120 a month for a package of TV, 1GBit/sec broadband and one terabyte of cloud storage. Google is also offering an internet-only package priced at $70 a month. Google is charging a $300 installation fee, saying consumers should treat it as a “home improvement” cost.

The initial service area includes central Kansas City, Missouri and all of the city of neighboring Kansas City, Kansas.

Features and freebie

Google Fiber includes such features as the ability to record eight TV shows at a time and store up to 500 hours of high definition programming. Users can choose to use a tablet or smartphone as a voice-activated remote control.

Google is offering its Nexus 7 tablet with the Google TV app to early users of the service.

Google said it is setting up a six-week “rally” for consumers to vote on where the first fiber communities, or “fiberhoods,” should be installed in the Kansas City area.

Consumers must pay $10 to register their household online for service. About 50 “neighbours” will need to register in order for their area to be eligible for installation services, according to Google executives.

Whether or not consumers will embrace the new offerings remains to be seen. But officials said they are confident Kansas City will be a showcase of success for a larger rollout.

“Google is a very different company,” said Kevin Lo, general manager of Google Access. “And this is not a short-term project.”

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