Google Fiber Outlines its Plans, Prices and Product – but no ESPN?

Google Fiber formally announced the upcoming launch of its 1Gb/s fiber-based broadband services for Kansas City with additional details of the service, the devices and the pricing, along with more information on its Google Fiber TV product.

The lucky folks that will be able to get this service, will enjoy 1Gb/s symmetrical broadband service and an extensive video service in the cities of Kansas CIty, KS and Kansas City, MO.  Google Fiber has divided the cities into fiberhoods (250-1,500 households) and set a goal for each one.  In a bit of motivation, Google Fiber will prioritize service in fiberhoods that meet their pre-registration goal.  This information will be unveiled on September 10, 2012.

Service will not be instantaneous.  Although some customers may receive service in the fall – Google Fiber has stated it could be up to the end of 2013 before everyone who is pre-registered will be installed.

The Details

Google Fiber is offering three plans:  Gigabit Internet and TV;   Gigabit Internet only; and Internet only.

Gigabit Internet and TV

  • Up to 1Gb/1GB speeds
  • Full channel TV lineup
  • Requires 2 year contract
  • No data caps
  • Nexus 7 tablet (acts as Remote Control)
  • TV Box,  Storage Box,  Network Box  & 1 TB Google Drive
  • $120/mo + taxes and fees

Gigabit Internet Only

  • Up to 1Gb/1GB speeds
  • Requires 1 year contract
  • No data caps
  • Network Box  & 1 TB Google Drive
  • $70/mo + taxes and fees

 Internet Only

  • Up to 5Mb/1MB speeds
  • No data caps
  • Free service guaranteed for at least 7 years
  • Network Box
  • $0/mo + taxes and fees
  • $300 installation fee

As part of the service, Google Fiber will be introducing a number of devices in support of the service:

The Network Box is the key to all of the services and offers four 1Gbps Ethernet ports; 360Mbps throughput speed with 802.11a/b/g/n including 3×3 MIMO antennas and dual concurrent Wi-Fi radios; IPv4 & IPv6 Routing and a gigabit firewall.

Google Fiber TV subscribers will also receive the Storage Box , providing 2TB of storage and the ability to record 8 programs simultaneously; an HD IP-STB (TV Box); as well as the Nexus 7 table which will act at the remote control for the service as well as play a role in multi-screen services.  However, they will also introduce an app for both Android and Apple devices that will perform the same functions.

It also remains unclear whether a TV Box is required at each television set.

Both Gigabit Internet services will also provide subscribes with 1TB storage on Google Drive – its cloud based storage service.

Our View

This is undoubtedly the best deal in the U.S. for this type of service in terms of both speeds and price points.  We are particularly pleased with the offer of $0 per month for a 5Mb/1Mb service – this will also be based on fiber - providing the customer the opportunity to ”move up” to the 1GB service at a later date.

Installation is going to take some time and I imagine some customers are going to be rather impatient, with most not actually getting service until mid or late 2013.

I am a bit surprised at the multi-box approach, although I understand the need to separate the TV platform from the network platform.  But if the storage box is only for TV, why did they not simply combine them into an IP Gateway platform for the main TV and provide smaller  IP STB for the secondary TVs?

I am surprised at the lack of a business focused package – this is a segment of the market that could readily utilize this type of service.  Definitely a missed opportunity in my opinion and one that Chattanooga did not make.

Finally, it is notable that ESPN is missing from its TV line-up.  Definitely saves on some costs, but sports are a big deal – particularly in KC.  With this kind of speeds – consumers would definitely be up for watching some 3D TV.  (UPDATED:  It is understood that Google Fiber is currently in discussion with ESPN along with many other networks and will likely have these networks on board by the time the first customer is connected).

Nonetheless, its a good start – maybe even a great start.  We’ll revisit at the official launch.

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