Google has announced that Kansas City, Missouri, will be the first to get its new 1-gigabit-per-second fibre broadband service, at a cheaper rate and of a faster service than what will be offered by Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN).
The internet giant announced the plans overnight, calling for Kansas City residents to register their interest in the service and pay a US$10 deposit.
Residents are being asked to band together with their neighbours, and if between 40 and 80 people in one area have registered in the next six weeks, Google will begin rolling out fibre to their area. Customers will need to pay US$300 to have the fibre installed, but for the introductory period, Google is waiving this fee for two of the plans.
There are three plans on offer for residents:
- For US$120 per month, customers get unlimited data, up to 1-gigabit-per-second (Gbps) upload and download speeds, Google Fiber TV — Google's IPTV service — a Nexus 7 tablet, TV Box, Storage Box, Network Box and 1TB of storage on Google Drive on a two-year contract.
- For US$70 per month, customers get unlimited data on up to 1Gbps upload and download, the Network Box and 1TB of Google Drive storage.
- For US$0 per month (but including the US$300 construction fee), customers will get up to 5-megabits-per-second (Mbps) download and up to 1Mbps upload, with unlimited data and the Network Box included. Google has promised to keep this connection free for at least seven years.
The latter package is aimed towards Kansas City residents who may not have broadband services already.
The announcement comes as the Australian Government continues to roll-out its own, much larger, fibre-to-the-home network to 93 per cent of premises. Currently, the top-tier plan available on the NBN is 100Mbps down and 40Mbps up, with prices ranging from AU$40 per month up to AU$164.95 per month, with data limits on all plans. The government has indicated that as more customers get onto the NBN over time, prices should come down. The initial objective of the pricing for the NBN is to pay off the network and to gain a 7 per cent return for the government. Pricing has been factored so that wholesale prices in regional and metropolitan Australia are exactly the same.
When Google initially announced its plans to launch 1Gbps fibre services, NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said the NBN would eventually launch 1Gbps services in the future.
"We will have one consistent set of products across the whole national footprint. And that means consistent ubiquitous service up to one gigabit per second," Quigley said in March 2010.
"Everyone keeps talking about 100Mbps. But that's obviously when we're talking about residents. For business, we are allowing for a certain percentage in our dimensioning to structure point-to-point services up to 1Gbps."