By Adam Camara – How would you like your DVR to be able to record 8 programs at once? And have 2 terabytes of storage, so you don’t have to delete saved programs to make room for new ones. How about having Internet speeds that are 100 times faster than the average? So that websites load instantly, photos upload in seconds, and you never have to wait for web videos to buffer. Well the community of Austin, TX is reportedly about to have all that with Google Fiber coming to town.
After rave reviews in its first stop of Kansas City, Google Fiber has been touting the emergence of “Silicon Prairie.” The company points to initiatives such as Kansas City Startup Village, and new businesses are already beginning to blossom. One prominent Colorado-based venture capitalist even bought a house in a Google Fiber-equipped neighborhood — and then launched a competition for entrepreneurs to live there rent-free. “The whole startup thing in Kansas City is like this huge growing beast,” local web developer Ben Barreth recently told the Associated Press. “It’s got this crazy momentum.”
Better Technology at a Better Price = Consumers Win
Google says its fiber-to-the-home product provides customers with broadband Internet speeds of one gigabit per second — roughly 100 times faster than the average U.S. connection — as well as crystal clear television service. In Kansas City, Google offers residents seven years of free Internet service at current broadband speeds, after a $300 installation fee. Super-fast one gigabit Internet service costs $70 per month, and the top bundle, which includes Google’s TV service, costs $120 per month. (The $300 installation fee is waived for the latter two offerings.)
But taking on broadband giants like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon is a tall order, because those companies dominate most U.S. markets. When Google Fiber was announced, many observers believed that the company’s goal would be to shame those giants into improving their offerings, by demonstrating that vastly faster broadband service is possible in the United States. Improving U.S. broadband speed and penetration is important for Google, because the more people who use broadband Internet, at faster speeds, the more Google searches get executed, which translates into more revenue for the company. With Google Fiber’s impending arrival in Austin, the project is increasingly looking like a real business for the company, and not just a shaming exercise.
So how do you feel about Google becoming the Internet & Cable Service Provider of the future? Whether they come to your community in the near future or not, their innovation will hopefully at least force the existing providers to improve their offerings. That’s the free market at its best..when innovation gives consumers a better product or service at a lower price.