Friday, January 30, 2015

Google's Fiber network grows again

Summary:Google is set to expand its 1Gbps Fiber network to four of the nine new metro regions it slated last year for launch.

By Liam Tung | January 27, 2015 -- 12:58 GMT (04:58 PST) ZDNet
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Google is preparing to launch its blazing fast one-gigabit-per-second Fiber broadband service to a handful of states in the coming week, according to numerous reports.

The search firm will reportedly announce the launch of the product in Atlanta, two locations in North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee in the coming week. Google hasn't announced the launch but has invited local media outlets to attend an event this week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The four locations were earmarked for "possible expansion" last year and will join existing locations in Provo, Austin, and Kansas City, where Fiber launched in 2012.

With Fiber residential subscribers can get a free 5Mbps service if they pay a $300 construction fee, or they can buy a gigabit internet service for $70 a month. Google also offers a gigabit service with TV for $130 per month.

Google has previously announced that it's in talks to bring Fiber to 34 cities in nine metro areas. The five additional areas are Salt Lake City, Utah; San Antonio, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and San Jose, California.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal, Google's Fiber project is seen by Wall Street as an effort to convince other network operators to invest in their networks. Following the Fiber launch, AT&T promised to roll out its own GigaPower service, which matches Google's pricing, to 21 metro areas last year.

At the same time Google does consider Fiber to be a real business. Google bills its service as "100 times faster than basic broadband", which is not far off the roughly 14Mbps average speeds available to residents in many states in the US, according to Akamai's most recent broadband report.

Analyst firm Ovum previously forecast that DOCSIS 3.0 broadband subscribers will grow from 54 million in 2014 to 60 million in 2019, while fibre and VDSL subscribers will grow slightly over the coming four years to 18 million and 9 million, respectively.

Besides Google and AT&T, some municipalities and local broadband providers, as well as CenturyLink are rolling out gigabit internet to locations across the US.

The Fiber expansion comes as Google prepares to shake up the mobile network market via a new MVNO piggybacking the networks of Sprint and T-Mobile.

Google's mobile service will reportedly seek out the best signal from the providers to determine where to route calls, texts, and data, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the plan. The idea is to deliver users the fastest wireless connection without them needing to deal with the hassle of switching carriers.

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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