Google has announced that it will begin rolling out 1Gbps fibre networks for consumers, allowing uncompressed HD TV and ultrafast broadband internet access.
The internet search giant has not made any moves into the infrastructure business before, but looks like it wants to make a splash with an almost unheard of retail 1Gbps connection called Google Fiber (sic).
As a point of comparison, the fastest possible speeds for retail consumers in the UK is Virgin Media’s 100Mbps fibre service, which will be superceded by BT’s 300Mbps service when it launches in early 2013. The average speed in the US is 5.8mbps, so the plan is a significant step up – and will certainly put pressure on the other telcos to match Google’s fibre offering.
"Google Fiber is 100 times faster than today’s average broadband. No more buffering. No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web," Google said on its blog.
1Gbps internet means that HD films will not only download in around a minute, but opens the possibility of uncompressed (or at least less compressed) HD video being streamed live to viewers, which was previously only possible through watching Blu-Ray DVDs discs. Sky TV and Freeview generally compress HD broadcast footage to lower their bandwidth costs, ruining the image.
"Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web. Imagine: instantaneous sharing; truly global education; medical appointments with 3D imaging; even new industries that we haven’t even dreamed of, powered by a gig," said Milo Medin, Google’s Vice President of Access Services.
Initially it will only be available to US residents. Google announced the plans as part of an informal tender process to cities in the US, which will act as testing grounds. After submissions from more than 1000 cities, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, were selected.
Residents will be able to pre-register their interest for $10, and Google will make a decision on September 9. Google will then decide which ‘fiber hood’ (sic) where the product will be rolled out. Hospitals, schools and libraries in the chosen areas will get the 1Gbps access for free.
The first homes will receive their 1Gbps fibre connection shortly after September 9, with roll outs to continue into early 2013.
The company has set up ‘fiber space’ (sic) which will demo the technology for anyone interested.
The service will be offered in three flavours, including a free option.
The free option will offer 5mbps for those who expressed interest but don’t want the full 1Gbps – with only an installation fee charged of $300.
$70 per month, with no installation fee.
The Gigabit + Google Fiber TV
Will carry hundreds of channels, and thousands of TV shows all in HD. The set top box will include 8 tuners and 2TB of data storage on the set top box, and Google will throw in a Google Nexus 7 tablet to be used as a remote. It will cost $120 per month, and waive the installation fee.