Google is leaping into the data service-provider market with the launch of Google Fiber, a 1-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) broadband service in Kansas City that packs an interactive HD television service alongside the lightning-fast bits.
As reported by CNET, Google Fiber is Google's effort to push broadband and pay-TV companies to deploy faster networks at a lower cost. The service has a US$300 installation cost, but this will be waived for people who sign up in the first wave of the service offering.
Three versions of the service will be on offer. Firstly, there's a package for US$120 per month, including both data service and the Fiber TV box. Data speeds are 1Gbps upstream and downstream with no data cap, plus 1 Terabyte of Google Drive storage. The box offers an integrated DVR with 500 hours of HD storage, and recording of up to eight TV shows at once. The box can search content that you have recorded, as well as program schedules and content that you have on subscription on-demand services, like Netflix. To add a little more cream, Google is giving everyone who signs up for this service a .
For US$70 per month, customers get a broadband-only package with 1Gbps up and down and the same 1 Terabyte of Google Drive storage.
Finally, there is a special free-service option for Kansas City residents who don't yet have any broadband. For the US$300 installation fee, they will receive 5Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream for seven years. They can opt to pay the US$300 installation at US$25 per month over the first 12 months.
Google is throwing down the gauntlet with this service at a time when ISP innovation has been stagnant. While it is obviously only a launch in one city, it signals an impressive next step for true next-generation digital services to the home.
Is it just me or does the National Broadband Network (NBN) suddenly feel a little more important?