aNewDomain.net—When Google announced it was building an ultra-fast Internet service called Google Fiber in Kansas City, MO, it seemed like yet another of the search giant’s playthings. The major cable providers Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Comcast gave a collective shrug, not viewing the move as a legitimate threat.
Yet after Google recently announced it was expanding Google Fiber into other markets including Shawnee, Kansas, Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah, the cable heavyweights took notice. The fact is, Google Fiber may turn out to be a profitable endeavor that could transform the public cable and Internet industry.
Google Fiber offers gigabit to the desktop with an “Internet connection speed 100 times faster than today’s average broadband, paired with crystal-clear high definition TV,” according to Google. Yet, Google Fiber also provides nearly free Internet service. For an upfront and one-time setup fee of $300, Kansas City subscribers get a 5Mbps connection for at least seven years with no monthly fees. This affordable rate for high-speed Internet has spurred other providers to action.
“Imagine chatting with your doctors or teachers via HD video conference, or collaborating on a work or school project with contributors across the globe in real time, without delays,” Google claims. “Imagine new online billing applications that don’t freeze. Imagine automatically saving all of your work to the cloud in a blink of an eye — and never having to worry about losing files to a computer crash again.”
Soon after Google announced the expansion of its experimental Internet project, Time Warner Cable announced it would build a citywide wireless internet service in Austin, which will be available to customers at no additional charge. Plus, earlier this month, AT&T announced it will build a gigabit fiber network in Austin.
This is certainly due to Google Fiber’s influence, since the major Internet service providers have been reluctant to incorporate super-high-speed services into their offerings. Last year Verizon canceled plans to expand its FIOS fiber Internet service. Time Warner said recently that customers aren’t interested in gigabit speed Internet.
Yet in Kansas City, Google Fiber has already been purchased by about a third of homes in the neighborhoods where it’s offered, reported the Kansas City Star. An estimated 77 percent of Kansas City residents who were offered the service considered switching to Google Fiber and 60 percent were highly likely to do so, according to a Bernstein survey, reports the Star
“These very high purchase intent numbers do not allow us to rule out the possibility that Google will indeed achieve very high penetration of homes passed, well in excess of the typical 20 percent to 30 percent that over-builders have achieved historically in their most successful markets,” the report said.
Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer’s Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal.Tags: Technology