Despite the US historically claiming to be against monopolies that corner markets and stifle progress and competition, we are surrounded by big name corporations that completely dominate the markets that define our consumerism-centered lives. One of the most well known industries with only a few big name contenders is the internet service industry. It is arguable as to how natural internet service provider (ISP) monopolies are, but one thing is for sure; we pay way too much for way too little!
Snail speeds, faulty connections, and despicable service standards abound across the entire spectrum of the internet industry in the US. Just think, 94% of South Koreans enjoy internet speeds that are 200x faster than the average connection in the US for an average of $27, half the price of what we yanks are stuck paying.
Lucky for us, there’s a new contender in town with a name you’ve probably heard before; Google. Google has recently constructed the infrastructure for a fiber-optic internet connection in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. Google internet is called Google Fiber, and it’s making an incredibly positive impression on those that have had the opportunity to try it out. This was initially an experiment conducted in hopes of lowering the price, and raising the quality, and availability of internet currently being provided by such companies as AT&T, and Verizon. That being said, Google executives recently made the statement that due to the incredibly positive reviews of the service, the possibility of Google Fiber expansion is very real.
This type of turf war rhetoric is leaving other ISPs scrambling to please their customers, something that has never been seen before. A man who lives in Kansas City, one of the initial locations where Google has set up shop, noticed that his ISP, Time Warner, recently informed him that they would be boosting his internet connection by 50% and reducing his payments from $45 to $30. Not surprisingly, this sudden change of heart took place just as Google Fiber flipped the switch and went operational. Hah.
There are various problems involved with fiber-optic internet including installation costs and bandwidth availability. It appears though that through Google’s ambitious experiment we are seeing that there is much more ISPs can be doing to ensure a better product and service.
I’ve saved the best part for last, the most exciting part about Google Fiber; free internet. No kidding. Google Fiber provides free internet access for an initial one-time cost of $300. By the way, that’s the cheapest, least inclusive, and least exciting plan currently offered by Google. For $120 per month you get a 2 year contract consisting of:
Up to one gigabit upload & download speed, Full channel TV lineup, 2 year contract, No data caps, Nexus 7 tablet, 1 TV Box, Storage Box, Network Box, 1TB Google Drive
Google is handing us the horse’s head, an offer we can’t refuse. Check out the various plans and specific specifications below:
|Plan||Gigabit + TV||Gigabit||Free Internet|
|Price||$120/month ($300 construction fee waived)||$70/month ($300 construction fee waived)||$0/month + $300 construction fee|
|Internet bandwidth (download / upload)||1 Gbit/s / 1 Gbit/s||1 Gbit/s / 1 Gbit/s||5 Mbit/s / 1 Mbit/s|
|TV service included||Yes||No||No|
|Storage included||2 TB DVR Storage (8 simultaneous recordings possible)|
1 TB Google Drive
|1 TB Google Drive only||None|
|Hardware included||Nexus 7 tablet|
Storage box (DVR)
*Note: Google has plans to increase the speed of the free internet as fiber-optic cable is laid.
**Update: Google Fiber is already beginning to spread. The expansion is initially taking place around the original Google Fiber cities, but it’s only a matter of time before your neighborhood becomes a fiberhood!