The Internet has become ingrained in everyone’s lives. People access the World Wide Web from desktops, laptops, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, and any other connected device. Even gaming systems are in on the action allowing online multi-player options and and content streaming such as ESPN3 and Netflix. The one element that seemed to not keep up with the evolving pace of things to do on the Internet was the average Internet speeds for most Americans. Right now, the average download speed across America is 5 Mbps. Internet download speeds stayed stagnant or grew slowly across many parts of the nation.
It’s easier, now, to explain the slow acceptance of faster download speeds. America is a big place with lots of rural areas. In these rural areas, it doesn’t make business sense to put a lot of money into more expensive fiber layouts to service a handful of customers when the investment may not be recovered for another 20-30 years. However, some of the slow acceptance was simply due to a lack of competition in an area or due to large companies having monopoly rights in an area preventing any successful competition.
Google, yes, that Google, recently announced that Kansas City will be the poster child for Internet speed growth as the search engine giant has introduced their new Internet packages. Right now, there are three plans:
- The upper tier bundle, which comes with 1Gbps symmetrical speeds (yes folks, that’s both download and upload!) and Google HDTV is the cream of the crop. This package also comes with 1 TB of network storage, a 2 TB DVR setting to allow you to save HD movies for later viewing, and a Nexus 7 Android tablet to use as a remote for the HDTV service. So, what’s the cost for all this? Merely $120 dollars a month, which is comparable or better than many plans out there currently.
- The Internet only package contains 1Gbps symmetrical service with a 1TB network storage drive for $70 dollars a month. This easily trumps many similarly priced plans for much lower speeds.
- Finally, they have a “free” 5Mbps download and 1Mbps upload plan as well. Users of this plan have to pay a $300 dollar install fee, (it can be paid upfront or paid $25 dollars a month for a year) and it is guaranteed free for currently 7 years.
The kicker to each of the plans is that none of them have data caps, and Google is proudly letting this resonate with other ISPs as the competition is pushing for bandwidth caps almost everywhere. Google is definitely standing out in the crowd.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Currently, many of the major providers have a poor image in customers’ eyes especially those now pushing bandwidth caps. Customers are concerned about exceeding their “allotted amount” of Internet usage per month, which is something most did not have to worry about. If Google’s aggressive offering pays off, then in reality, everyone wins. Google’s fiber service would force the current major providers to further innovate or drop prices to keep customers and compete. When everyone has to actively compete again, we as consumers win.
Google has a Pre-Register option that allows you to enter your address to request future service. If you feel moved to do so, go on pre-Register. There’s nothing like a bit of healthy competition! For more on Google Fiber and to pre-register, go here.