Google Fiber is soliciting test participants in Nashville, Tenn. and Huntsville, Ala. for a 2 Gbps service slated to start next month. The Google Fiber 2 Gbps service will double the current 1 Gbps speed of the Google platform.
The 2 Gbps service will cost $100 per month and include a Wi-Fi 6 router and mesh extender. The service is expected to roll out to all subscribers in the two cities during the autumn and to the other 17 Google Fiber and Google Webpass cities early next year. Google is inviting subscribers to join a Google Fiber Trusted Tester program.
“Google Fiber networks are designed so there’s plenty of capacity to allow our customers, with the right in-home hardware, to reach 2 Gig (and even faster) speeds,” Director of Product Management Amalia O’Sullivan wrote in a blog post about Google Fiber 2 Gbps service. “Our approach to network design allows us to keep our customers connected to the fastest speeds available.”
Google Fiber has a long and interesting history. The promise of 1 Gbps service was startling at its launch in 2010, although there was much skepticism about whether the company was serious about building and running a broadband network or was simply trying to goad the cable and telephone companies into expanding their broadband capabilities and becoming better delivery platforms for Google products and services.
The company was serious, but to a point. The sobering reality of building expensive fiber networks in cities across the country, combined with the hassle of working with municipalities cause Google to slow down significantly. Google shifted broadband access gears a bit when it acquired Webpass, a provider of fixed wireless services with an apparent eye to avoiding the challenges of in-ground builds. Google Fiber and Webpass are now available in 19 markets.
Google Fiber was a tad quiet for a while, but recently made some news. In July, Google Fiber said it would be the first tenant for an open access network that is being built in the city of West Des Moines, IA. The city is investing as much as $40 million in the project. Google Fiber will pay the city $2.25 for each fiber connection over a 20 year period with a minimum commitment of $4.5 million.
It will be very interesting to see the take rates that Google Fiber 2 Gbps service achieves.