Google Fiber, Alphabet’s division focused on providing high-speed internet access in the United States, announced ambitious plans to expand its fibre services over the next three to five years in a blog post.
It’s not the cheapest provider, but the fast speeds and perks like unlimited data and free equipment make it worthwhile.
It is worth investigating. Few fibre providers, let alone cable or DSL providers, can compete with Google Fiber’s speed potential. When looking for internet service in your area, you’ll want to consider more than just speed, so here’s a full breakdown of what Google Fiber has to offer.
What is Google Fiber?
Alphabet Inc.’s Access division includes Google Fiber.
It offers fiber-to-the-premises service in the United States, bringing broadband Internet and IPTV to a small but steadily growing number of locations.
It had 68,715 television subscribers and an estimated 453,000 broadband customers in mid-2016.
Within the first three years, the service was introduced to the Kansas City metropolitan area, including twenty Kansas City area suburbs.
Initially proposed as an experimental project, Google Fiber was announced as a viable business model in December 2012, when Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt stated at The New York Times’ DealBook Conference, “It’s actually not an experiment, we’re actually running it as a business.”
Google shook the $60 billion broadband industry in 2010 when it announced plans to deploy fiber-based home internet service with speeds up to a gigabit per second — 100 times faster than average speeds at the time.
Fiber, as the project was dubbed, entered the access market with the intention of demonstrating the business case for ultra-high-speed internet.
However, after deploying to six metro areas in six years, company management announced in late 2016 that future deployments would be “paused.”
It could be viewed as a failed early market experiment in gigabit internet access under the Big Bang Disruption model, in which innovations take off suddenly when markets are ready for them.
But what if Google’s goal was never so much to unleash the disrupter as it was to encourage incumbent broadband providers to do so, thereby assisting Google’s expansion in adjacent markets such as video and emerging markets such as smart homes?
It succeeded spectacularly when viewed through that lens. It prompted incumbents to jump-start their own infrastructure investments by several years.
New applications and industries, such as virtual reality and the Internet of Things, emerged, demonstrating the viability of a “build it and they will come” strategy for gigabit services.
Local governments were also mobilised to reconsider restrictive and inefficient approaches to network installation oversight.
The Google Fiber story teaches important lessons for future network transformations, particularly the ongoing global race to deploy next-generation 5G mobile networks.
It seems like a good time to go over the history of the effort, what it accomplished, and what it teaches investors, consumers, and community leaders eager to ensure continued private investment in internet infrastructure.
Congress charged the Federal Communications Commission with developing a National Broadband Plan in 2009. (NBP).
The plan established aggressive targets for expanding high-speed broadband service across the United States, relying almost entirely on private investment.
The overall goal is to ensure that at least 100,000,000 Americans have access to 100 Mbps broadband by 2020.
As it turned out, providers had already surpassed that mark in 2016. However, no major carrier was planning a major upgrade to its existing physical plant in 2009.
This was a departure from the previous decade, when technological advances and competing technologies meant constant upgrades, progressing from dial-up to early cable-based broadband, DSL service offered over the analogue phone network, early fiber-based deployments (notably Verizon FiOS), and cable’s final major upgrade, known as DOCSIS 3.0.
However, by 2009, Verizon had scaled back plans for more fibre, and DSL technology was falling behind advances in cable.
Major markets were splitting into two segments: high-end cable and low-end DSL. The broadband market was in a classic “prisoner’s dilemma,” with neither cable nor DSL providers seeing a competitive threat from the other that would necessitate significant new investment, instead trusting in relative peace within their own market segment.
Broadband capacity expansion was on the verge of stalling.
What it means for a 5G mobile network
5G promises faster speeds and new applications, making mobile broadband competitive with fibre.
And deployment will most likely follow its new city-by-city model.
Local governments will need to reconsider their approach to construction oversight, which includes permitting, zoning, franchising, tower siting, and fees. And there is proof that they are.
Rental costs for rights of way, pole attachment rents, and other recurring charges, for example, have long been viewed as a rich source of funding for budget shortfalls by some cities, but are now fiercely negotiated by providers.
Local governments in Boston, Sacramento, and other cities that have secured early 5G investment are discovering that carriers are more than willing to negotiate, but may walk away if officials demand too many concessions.
Google Fiber Availability
Its coverage is nowhere near that of rival fibre providers AT&T, Verizon Fios, or CenturyLink, but it does provide service in some reasonably large metro areas.
Its service is most prevalent in Kansas City and Huntsville, Alabama, but it is also available in parts of Orange County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte and the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah; and now West Des Moines, Iowa.
Google Fiber Availability doubled from 2016 to 2020
The number of cities where Google Fiber is available is growing, as is the availability of Google Fiber in markets where it is currently available.
Its growth, noting that the provider’s customer base increased 100% between 2016 and 2020, more than any other provider.
Although this increase increased its national coverage from 0.46% to 0.98%, it is still available to less than 1% of US residents.
Nonetheless, the growth is impressive, and the rapid expansion is continuing. According to a Google Fiber spokesperson, the company is “building in all existing markets” and “building more in 2021 than any previous year.”
Furthermore, Google Fiber appears to be expanding beyond city limits. Google Fiber, for example, is set to expand into Concord and Matthews, North Carolina, two Charlotte suburbs I never expected to be eligible. I’m still waiting for Google Fiber to reach me south of Charlotte, but if it’s available in your area or where you’re moving to, here’s what to expect in terms of plans and service details.
Google Fiber offers fast but limited plan options
Google Fiber offers two plans: fast (1 gig, 1Gbps) and super-fast (2 gig, 2Gbps) (2 gigs, 2Gbps).
While gigabit service is common among fibre providers and most cable providers, AT&T, Frontier, Xfinity, and Ziply Fiber are the only other major providers offering multi-gigabit plans.
In many cases, it is only available to a subset of subscribers.
Google Webpass, a high-speed fixed wireless internet service similar to Starry Internet, is available in a few cities, including Chicago, Denver, Miami, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle.
There is only one Google Webpass plan available, gigabit service, but cheaper pricing may be available if your building’s network cannot support gigabit speeds.
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Google Fiber Plans
|Plan||Monthly price||Max speeds||Equipment cost||Data cap||Contract|
|1 Gig||$70||1,000Mbps download, 1,000Mbps upload||None||None||None|
|2 Gig||$100||2,000Mbps download, 1,000 Mbps upload||None||None||None|
|Google Webpass||$70, or $63 with a yearly plan||1,000Mbps download, 1,000Mbps upload||None||None||None|
More and cheaper plan options would be nice (Google Fiber previously offered a 100Mbps plan for $50 per month), but I must admit that gig service is a good starting point.
As HD and 4K streaming become the norm, and we connect everything from smartphones and tablets to speakers, thermostats, and a plethora of other devices to the internet, plans with speeds around and below 100Mbps become less practical, even if they are less expensive.
Returning to value, its plans are actually less expensive than most, despite the lack of a “cheap” option.
Its gig service costs $70 per month, which is less than fibre providers AT&T, Frontier, and Verizon Fios, as well as cable ISPs such as Cox, Spectrum, and Xfinity.
Then there’s the $100 per month 2 Gigs plan, which is still less expensive than some providers’ single gig plans.
The cost per Mbps, which you can find for any internet plan by dividing the monthly fee by the maximum speeds, is a good indicator of value.
Its 1 Gig plan starts at $70 per month for speeds up to 1,000Mbps, for a cost of 7 cents per Mbps. The 2 Gigs plan is even less expensive, at 5 cents per Mbps.
A low cost per Mbps is often a good internet deal, and the cost per Mbps of both Google Fiber plans is comparable to or lower than that of most providers at any speed tier.
Google Fiber has straightforward pricing with no added fees
Google Fiber has no introductory pricing, so you won’t have to worry about a price increase after a year.
That is not to say that the price will never rise, but there is no guarantee that it will do so after a certain number of months.
Furthermore, Google Fiber plans include unlimited data (no overage fees) and no contracts with a minimum service length (so no early termination fees).
ISPs are increasingly offering unlimited data and no contracts. Nonetheless, some major providers will require you to sign an agreement in order to receive the best pricing or will charge you $50 or more in overage fees if you exceed your data limit.
No equipment costs, even for mesh Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi 6 routers
The 1 Gig plan from Google Fiber includes a Wi-Fi router and up to two access points, which extend the range and coverage of Wi-Fi service throughout your home, up to 3,000 square feet.
If you require more coverage, you can purchase additional access points for $100 each.
You can also use your own router, but given that it includes one for free, I’m not sure why you’d want to unless you need a high-end router for serious gaming or other specialised uses.
The 2 Gig plan includes a Multi-Gig Wi-Fi 6 router, the most recent Wi-Fi technology that is estimated to be 30% faster than the previous Wi-Fi iteration.
The technology is exciting, but Wi-Fi routers can be expensive, so it’s nice that it comes with one for free.
Wi-Fi extenders, as with the 1 Gig plan, are included if needed to ensure whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.
The 2 Gig plan does not allow you to use your own equipment, but the device should be more than adequate for any standard home internet use.
How does Google Fiber stack up against competitors?
If Google Fiber is available in your area, it’s safe to assume that you also have a cable provider and possibly another fibre provider.
In that case, you’ll want to see how Google Fiber stacks up.
Google Fiber will have a higher starting price than other fibre providers – or really any ISP.
AT&T Fiber ($55), CenturyLink ($50), Frontier FiberOptic ($50), and Verizon Fios ($40) all have lower monthly starting prices, but it’s worth noting that these cheaper plans have significantly lower speeds.
If those speeds, which are typically around 200 to 300Mbps, are adequate for your household, a more affordable plan like AT&T or Verizon Fios may be your best bet.
If you want gigabit service, Google Fiber is hard to beat.
The starting price for Google Fiber’s gig service is slightly lower than Frontier and Verizon (both around $80 per month), and while it is higher than Optimum ($50 per month) and CenturyLink ($65 per month), the free equipment rental makes it a better value in the end. You won’t be able to get 2Gbps service from either of those two providers.
When comparing Google Fiber to cable internet service, the same advantages and disadvantages of Google Fiber versus other fibre providers apply.
With cable internet, you will have more plan options, including a few cheaper but slower plan options and a comparatively priced gig plan.
The upload speeds and connection quality will be the most noticeable differences between Google Fiber and cable internet.
Fiber internet typically provides symmetrical upload and download speeds.
In the case of Google Fiber’s 2 Gig plan, maximum upload speeds are 1,000Mbps, while maximum download speeds are 2,000Mbps (which is still ridiculously fast).
Upload speeds with cable internet top out around 50Mbps, so you won’t get near the same upload speeds – which are critical for working and learning from home – with cable internet service.
A fibre connection is also typically better than a cable connection, which can be susceptible to slowed speeds due to network congestion, particularly during peak usage times.
Where does Google Fiber rank on customer satisfaction?
Google Fiber isn’t explicitly listed in the American Customer Satisfaction Index national reports (it’s listed under “All Others”), but that doesn’t mean customers didn’t provide feedback to the ACSI.
According to a Google Fiber representative, the company worked separately with the ACSI to assess customer satisfaction and compare it to national averages.
The end result? In 2020, Google Fiber reportedly ranked first in 17 categories, including Customer Satisfaction, Perceived Value, Wi-Fi Security, Reliability of Service, and Perceived Overall Quality.
What Google Fiber Offers
Even in cities where Google Fiber has been installed, availability is somewhat limited.
The speed of Google Fiber is a big part of its allure.
While the FCC’s broadband internet speed benchmark is 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mpbs for uploads, its highest tier of service offers a top speed of 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps).
That is one of the fastest speeds in the country.
Fiber, like most broadband internet services, is a shared network, which means that if too many people are online at the same time, you may experience slowdowns.
However, because Google Fiber is designed to support 1,000 Mbps, the bandwidth is so high that individual customers’ bandwidth is unlikely to be affected by their neighbours.
The cost of Google Fiber varies by region, but most customers can expect to pay around $50 per month for 100 Mbps service and $70 per month for 1,000 Mbps service.
Google Fiber also includes a cable television option, which adds about $90 per month to the basic plan.
All pricing is all-inclusive and billed monthly, with no annual service contracts, rental equipment fees, or monthly data caps.
The Future of Google Fiber
Since Google has paused plans to deploy Google Fiber across the United States and pulled out of several cities where it attempted to deploy, critics have referred to the initiative as a “failure.”
While this is a significant shift for the company, one industry insider told Business Insider that Google Fiber’s presence in Austin, Texas, in particular, has boosted competition and even growth in the local broadband industry.
Dustin Bolander, CIO of IT Strategy firm Clear Guidance Partners, told Business Insider, “Here in Austin, we have seen some of Google’s competitors cut prices by as much as 50% in response to the hype that comes with Google Fiber.”
So, while Fiber may not be growing as quickly as Google had hoped, it may still be a worthwhile option to investigate.
Google Fiber Internet Speeds
Upload and download speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps are available with Google Fiber and Google Fiber Webpass.
The connection with it is made via fiber-optic cable lines.
The connection is delivered over Ethernet via fixed wireless technology with Google Fiber Webpass.
With this connection, Google Fiber Webpass receives the internet signal via a roof antenna plugged into the building’s existing wiring and delivers it to data jacks inside individual apartments or units.
Google Fiber Webpass requires no additional hardware, not even a modem.
Google Fiber TV
TV services are available as an add-on to Google Fiber plans.
Users who sign up for a TV plan will receive a TV box with an HD DVR that can record up to eight shows at once and built-in Google Cast.
Additional TV boxes are available for $10 per month. Plans range from 15 to more than 220 channels, with on-demand TV shows and movies available as well.
Smart Search and Recommendations are used by the TV software to recognise your favourite programmes and recommend new ones. A Fiber TV app is also available.
This allows you to control your TV and watch specific channels from your smartphone or tablet.
Google Fiber Customer Service
How do I contact Google Fiber support?
Yes, we have a text phone number (833-999-2889). Please keep in mind that we can only respond to Google Fiber-related inquiries and cannot help you with other Google products that aren’t part of your Google Fiber service. Please call (650) 253-0000 for help with other Google products.
Google Fiber Login
Sign in to the Google Fiber app
To manage your account, network, and services, sign in to your Google Fiber account in the Google Fiber app.
To access the app, follow these steps:
1. Start the app by touching the app icon.
2. Touch the down-arrow at the bottom of the screen to see a list of Google accounts that are already set up on that mobile device.
Select your Google Fiber account from the list if it is listed.
If your Google Fiber account isn’t listed, tap Add Account to add it to the device.
3. Select the Continue As option to log in to your account.
How can I Cancel my Google Fiber Account?
To cancel Google Fiber service before installation, follow these steps:
1. Log in to your Google Fiber account with your email address and password.
2. Go to your account page and select Manage Profile.
3. Click Cancel Fiber Service on your profile page.
4. A series of messages with information about cancelling your Fiber service will appear.
Is google fiber in my area? What areas can you get it?
Cities with Google Fiber Webpass
- Chicago, IL.
- Denver, CO.
- Miami, FL.
- Oakland, CA.
- San Diego, CA.
- San Francisco, CA.
- Seattle, WA.
Google Fiber Phone Number
Yes, we have a text phone number (833-999-2889).
Please keep in mind that we can only respond to Google Fiber-related inquiries and cannot help you with other Google products that aren’t part of your Google Fiber service. Please call (650) 253-0000 for assistance with other Google products.
Is Google Fiber speed test real?
The desktop version of this test is extremely dependable, and we appreciate how quickly its no-frills design loads and runs. This test has a few flaws, including a lack of advanced features and options and the fact that it does not run on a secure website.
Why is Google Speedtest so slow?
Check to see if you’re streaming or downloading anything that might be consuming bandwidth during the Speedtest, and then try again.
If your Speedtest result remains slow, try rebooting your device or router and making sure that no Quality of Service (QOS) features are enabled on your router.
How long does it take for Google Fiber installation?
One to four days before we install a Google Fiber Jack inside your home, our installers will install a small box called a Network Interface Unit on the side of your house (NIU).
This connects the network to your home and prepares it for the Google Fiber Jack.
Don’t be concerned if you’re at home.
How do you check if Google Fiber is available in your area?
Go to fiber.google.com.
Then, click Check Eligibility or the map icon, and enter your address and zip code.
Follow the on-screen instructions to begin the sign-up process if you are eligible.
Where is google fiber available?
In addition to Kansas City, it is now available in Atlanta, Huntsville, Alabama, Orange County, California, Charlotte and the Raleigh/Durham area, North Carolina, Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, and Salt Lake City and Provo, Utah.
How do I test my Google Fiber speed?
Close all applications before running the Internet speed test for the best results.
Go to fiber.google.com/speedtest in your browser.
How to check if Google Fiber is down?
Sign in to your Fiber account to check for Google Fiber outages.
If there is a network outage or other known service disruption, a message will appear at the top of your Fiber Account page.
Is Google Fiber Kansas City any good?
In Kansas City, Missouri, Google Fiber provides the fastest internet speeds.
Other internet service providers provide lower-cost plans with slower speeds than Google Fiber’s 1-gig and 2-gig internet.
Is Google Fiber internet fast?
You’ll get fast download speeds with it, up to 1000 gigabits per second with 1 Gig and up to 2000 with 2 Gig.
If you need speed, there may be no better provider than it – assuming service is available in your area.
Google Fiber has some of the best gig service pricing and is the only major provider with a reasonably priced 2Gbps plan other than AT&T.
Beneficial service terms, such as free equipment rental, unlimited data, and no contract requirements, add to the value and are most likely responsible for its high customer satisfaction rating.
However, the service is not for everyone, particularly those looking for a low-cost plan for less than $50 per month. Before settling on a particular home internet provider, make sure to weigh all of your options.