After more than two years of anticipation, Google finally announced Thursday that the company’s ultra-high speed internet service Google Fiber would become available to the residents of its test community Kansas City starting in September.
Offering an internet connectivity speed of one gigabit per second, Google said the service will be about 100 times faster than the speed most Americans have with current broadband connections, reported Xinhua.
Instead of a broadband connection, Google Fiber is composed of thin optical fiber lines that run directly from a person’s home to a data centre, which is then in turn connected to the national internet backbone.
According to Google, it is this “direct connection” from a person’s home to the national backbone that will allow users to experience such high internet speeds.
Google said it was inspired to develop Google Fiber in line with the Federal Communication Commission’s 2010 National Broadband Plan, which calls for making high speed internet more widely available in the US.
Despite the fact that internet was invented in the US, according to content delivery network Akamai’s 2011 State of the Internet report, the US ranks only 12th globally in internet connection speed, with an average connection of 5.8 megabits per second. South Korea ranks first, with an average speed of 17.5 megabits per second.
In an interview on telephone, Google Fiber spokesperson Jenna Wandres told Xinhua that Google had already done advocacy work around the development of the National Broadband Plan and improving US internet connectivity, and that it set the stage for the company to do even more once the Plan was released.
Wandres added Google hoped greater internet accessibility and speed could additionally lead to more technological innovation, and set the stage for the future of internet browsing.
“When we think back about the way we used to use the internet when we were still listening to a dial tone, there were all sorts of innovations that we couldn’t even imagine – we were sitting waiting for it to dial in,” Wandres said, comparing how much the internet had changed since it was first developed.
“We’re hoping that with Google Fiber and its higher speeds, these things will lead to new and unpredictable innovations that as a whole will move the web forward in the US,” she added.
After months of laying the infrastructure and groundwork, Google Fiber will finally start home-installation after the pre-registration deadline Sep 9. The internet service is priced at $70 a month, which is competitive with most US broadband internet providers.
Google also announced the new internet service could be paired with a television component, Google Fiber TV, which Google says will include regular broadcast channels and thousands of TV shows on demand.
Although Google already owns video-sharing site YouTube, it will be the company’s first venture into serving as a television provider.
The Google Fiber project first started in February 2010, when Google announced that the company planned to build an ultra-high speed internet network in a select US city that was willing to partner with them.
According to Google, the response was overwhelming. The company received invitations from almost 1,100 US communities and close to 200,000 individuals, all expressing their desire for faster internet service. Some cities even tried doing stunts hoping to attract the Google Fiber project, with one city mayor even jumping into a frozen river and posting the request on YouTube.
Ultimately, the Midwest community of Kansas City was chosen as the Google Fiber launch site in spring 2011. According to Wandres, Kansas City was chosen because of its business-friendly infrastructure, community involvement, and supportive officials.