Google Fiber might sound like a healthy snack, but it’s actually the search giant’s first foray into the ISP industry. In typical Google style, the company is seeking to differentiate the service from others currently available, terming the nascent connection a “different kind of Internet.”
The fiber-optic network will operate at speeds up to 100 times faster than that of the average connection available today, the company said. Also raising eyebrows is the plan to offer free service to users who pay a one time $300 construction fee.
“No more buffering,” wrote vice president of access services Milo Medin, on the company blog. “No more loading. No more waiting. Gigabit speeds will get rid of these pesky, archaic problems and open up new opportunities for the web.”
But the vast majority of users will still have to wait for the long-speculated service, which will initially be available only in Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO. It’s not clear what time frame the company sees for expanding Fiber elsewhere.
The project divides each city into small communities the company is calling “fiberhoods.” For a fiberhood to get the service, enough residents need to pre-register. According to Google, interested residents can stop by the “Fiber Space” building in Kansas City, MO to try out the speedy connection.
One anticipated level of service will include TV access in addition to an internet connection, for $120/month.
Medin also connected the initiative to innovation, invoking the social change brought about by the last wave of widespread connectivity upgrades.
“It’s easy to forget how revolutionary high-speed Internet access was in the 1990s,” he wrote. “Not only did broadband kill the screeching sound of dial-up, it also spurred innovation, helping to create amazing new services as well as new job opportunities for many thousands of Americans.
The project does put Google in the uncomfortable position of both operating web services and the infrastructure used to access them – a state of affairs that could threaten the company’s longstanding support for open web ideals.