Never before have so many people all of a sudden thought, “I wonder if Kansas City is a nice place to live?” That’s because Google recently announced the details behind Google Fiber, its incredibly fast new Internet service that’ll cost eligible Kansas City residents $70 per month. Another $50 will add a cable TV package to the mix as well. All in all, $120 is in line with what you’d expect to pay for similar TV-plus-Internet service from other major cable providers.
So why would someone in Kansas City want to make the switch?
The Need for Speed
Google is promising download and upload speeds of up to one gigabit per second, which it says is about 100 times faster than the average U.S. broadband connection. Remember back in June when Verizon announced its FiOS Quantum package, which offered theoretical download speeds of 300 megabits per second and theoretical upload speeds of 65 megabits per second? That package costs $210 per month. Google’s theoretical download speed is more than three times as fast and its theoretical upload speed is more than 15 times as fast for a third of the price. If Google Fiber ever gets out of Kansas City, other Internet providers better watch out.
Best. Remote. Ever.
If you sign up for both Internet and cable for two years, you’ll get the coolest remote control ever made: Google’s new Nexus 7 tablet. Normally selling for $200, it’s arguably the best non-iPad tablet on the market, equipped with an app that lets you control your TV and search for shows with a swipe of your finger. Not only that, you’ll be able to watch TV on your tablet from any room in the house. The app will also be available for certain Android and iOS devices, letting you use your smartphone as a remote control as well.
The standard DVRs from most cable providers do a decent job, but Google has an added bonus for its customers: Its storage box can record up to eight TV shows at one time and features two terabytes of storage. That’s a lot of episodes of Real Housewives of New Jersey (500 hours worth, to be exact). Plus, if you ever get bored with what you’ve recorded, you can stream Netflix or YouTube from the DVR. Searching for stuff to watch on TV will include relevant streamable results, too, all in the same place.
Who Needs Hardware?
Google is offering one terabyte of Google Drive storage for Internet subscribers and is heavily pushing its Chromebook for $299. This, my friends, is what this whole Google Fiber thing is all about. As long as people have slow Internet connections, relying solely on Google’s cloud isn’t really an option. But if you have a one-gigabit-per-second connection? All of a sudden using a Chromebook with Google Drive as your primary computer doesn’t sound so crazy.
Even if you don’t want blazing download speeds and a cool tablet for a remote control, you can still get Google Fiber’s basic five-megabit service for $0 per month. Granted, you’ll need to put down a $300 construction free, but after that your Internet connection will be guaranteed free for the next seven years. Not bad if you’re just a casual Internet user or have been looking for an excuse to get grandma hooked up to the web.
Not So Cool…
Google’s TV package includes almost every channel you would want, with one notable exception: ESPN. As I’ve noted before, ESPN charges cable providers around five times more than the average network. Also absent from the list of available channels are TNT and HBO, both owned (along with TIME – full disclosure) by Time Warner