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Google Fiber opens its order book

08 August 2012
 
Google Fiber – the search giant’s hotly anticipated FTTH project in Kansas City – is now taking orders for service on its network.  The network isn’t fully built yet, but that’s kind of the point.  Google will use the registration information to work out where demand is greatest, and connect up homes in those neighbourhoods first.

 

In that sense Google is taking a leaf straight out of the books of European fibre operators. Dutch operator Reggefiber, for instance, uses demand registration schemes for all of its projects, and will only start deployment when a threshold is reached.
 
Google also announced details of service packages and price. The most exciting part of the announcement is gigabit fibre at very competitive rates – just $70 (€57) per month for the internet-only package or $120 (€97) per month for internet plus TV.  It will also offer a “free” broadband service for customers willing to pay the $300 connection fee. Contracts have a two-year term.
 
"This is undoubtedly the best deal in the US for this type of service in terms of both speeds and price points," Teresa Mastrangelo, market analyst at broadbandtrends.com, commented in a blog post.  
 
Google has also launched what it calls “Fiber Space”, a place where people can drop in to try out the Google Fiber experience – although it is by appointment only at present.
 
The world has been watching to see what Google would do with its FTTH network. The company originally said its goal was “to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone”.  It said that it would investigate test new ways to build fibre networks, and share the lessons learned with the world.  And it promised to operate an open network, where customers had a choice of service provider.  We’ll have to wait a little longer to see how Google plans to deliver on those promises.
 
The pre-registration phase closes on 9 September with construction to homes beginning soon after. Mastrangelo points out that it is still very early days: “Installation is going to take some time. I imagine some customers are going to be rather impatient, with most not actually getting service until mid or late 2013,” she said.
 
By Pauline Rigby