For too long the cable companies have had a tyrannical hold on us. The charge us for channels we don’t want, show up late for installation appointments, and throttle our bandwidth when we opt for alternate services (Netflix, Hulu, etc) that challenge their business model. Enough is enough. But instead of us rising up with pitch forks in hand and marching in protest to the steps of Time Warner, Comcast, and those alike, we can now rest easy. Why? Today, Google officially announced Google Fiber, and it’s looking quite appealing.
Initially, Google Fiber will only be available in Kansas. They’re using them as a sort of test bed to gauge the service’s popularity, and probably iron out whatever tech wrinkles cross their path, and odds are there will be quite a few. For those looking to ditch TV all together and simply surf the Net, stream movies from Netflix, or access TV shows via Hulu, they can opt for their Free Internet plan. Which, needless to say, costs $0. However, you’ll have to pay a $300 “construction fee,” which can be paid in one lump sum or over the course of 12-months, at $25 a month. After that, Google will provide a minimum of 7 years of free Internet service with speeds of 5Mbps down, and 1Mbps up.
For those of you that are seeking a bit more bandwidth, which is massive understatement, expect to pay $70/month with a 1-year commitment. For that kind of scratch they’ll waive the $300 construction fee, and connect you to the world wide web with potential speeds of 1000Mbps. Included is a Network Box with 4-Ethernet ports and built-in Wifi, and 1TB of storage on Google’s cloud service, Google Drive.
And if that isn’t enough to satiate your media consumption, Google also offers a $120/month package with a 2-year contract. Hardware includes not only a TV box, which is very much like Google’s TV boxes on the market today, but a Nexus 7 for free. Google’s newest tablet will serve as a remote control, and even allow you to watch some programming directly on the device. And in addition to the Network Box, Google Fiber customers will be graced with a Storage Box, which provides 2TB of space and can record up to 8 shows simultaneously in HD. And yes, Google Drive is also included in this package.
So the bottom line is that we now have another choice when it comes to how we want to access our media. It’s not entirely clear, or solidified for that matter what channels they’ll be able to provide upon launch or when the service will become available in your area – you might have to pay more for some channels. But On Demand will be available and at 1000Mbps and do you really need the TV option with that kind of bandwidth? That said, the contract commitment is a deterrent, but since Google is waiving the $300 construction fee, it’s a caveat we’re willing to concede on. Are you?