Kansas City is abuzz with anticipation of the long-awaited Google Fiber announcement today, scheduled for about 11 a.m. CST. The announcement will be live streaming here. Live blogging - here are some takeaways from the video!
Key Takeaways from the Google Fiber Announcement
- Internet speed graph didn't skyrocket like the computing and storage graphics did when it came to innovation. Google saw an opportunity to facilitate that momentum.
- 1 gigabit = 1000 megabits ... per second. You would be able to upload as fast as you download.
- Currently Americans download at 5.8 megabits per second, and upload at 1.2 megabits per second.
- Americans pay more per megabit than every other major economy except New Zealand.
- Speed test showed about 5mps for regular users, over 900mps for Fiber. Implications - faster video, photo and multimedia uploads and downloads.
- Google Fiber TV service - finally a viable competitor to Time Warner Cable in Kansas City. Google Fiber TV - all TV in HD. Multiple simultaneous users of various programming on multiple devices - including mobile devices like tablets. Voice search for TV programming - including exclusive local programming!
- Sneak peek of features forthcoming: tune automatically from social stream on Google+ with standard social engagement and sharing, on-demand movies and shows.
- Google Network Box - gigabit routing, high performance wifi, gigabit firewall, simple network management.
- Google Storage Box - record 8 shows at once, two terabytes of storage, record 500 hours in HD, simultaneous recording and watching across multiple devices.
- Google TV Box - all content in HD at no extra charge, built-in wifi access point, Bluetooth enabled. Fully integrated online video.
- Google Nexus 7 included in TV package as no extra charge - it's your new remote.
- How do I get Google Fiber? $300 to have a Google Fiber team member install devices and connect you to Fiber. Two packages: Gigabit + TV ($120 month - 2 year contract waives $300 construction fee). Gigabit Internet ($70 month - 1 year contract, waiving construction fee). Free Internet at regular broadband speeds.
- Pre-register and rally your neighbors do the same here
- Schools, libraries, government buildings, community centers and emergency facilities will get free gigabit internet connectivity immediately.
- My neighborhood - Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City - is not considered part of Kansas City, KS or Kansas City, MO by technicality, so I am not eligible to pre-register and create a "FiberHood" for my area.
What Google Fiber Means for Kansas City
More than 1,100 cities scrambled to apply to be the first city when Google revealed its plans in February 2010. When Kansas City, Kansas was chosen in March, many of us felt a surge of excitement to be selected to lead the charge on something so significant as this. In May 2011 we learned that both sides of the state line - KCMO and KCK - will benefit, and the movement to unite the two cities grained real momentum. (Their office is at 43rd & State Line - right on the border.)
What is Google Fiber? Truthfully, it's all been a little vague. The claim is that Kansas City will gain access to ultra-high speed Internet, purported to have download speeds of 1GB/second, or 100 times the speed of normal broadband (on average, 4 megabits per second). Google Fiber will use equipment aggregation huts and miles and miles - more than 100 miles as of April 2012 - of fiber optic cable to essentially bring the internet "closer" to us.
I have to say, I'm particularly fond of the teaser video they released earlier this month. All history, jazz, photos of our iconic locations, tributes to our food and so on. It's been an exciting year for Kansas City, and Google Fiber is another great way to put us middle-of-the-mappers back in the forefront of people's minds as an excellent place to live, work and visit. Perhaps it's too soon to assume that the Silicon Prairie will be the next Silicon Valley, but we can dream.
It's been a big year for Kansas City with things like the MLB 2012 All-Star Game, a number of significant celebrity events, the second year of independently organized TEDxKC talks, the arrival of the Alamo Drafthouse, the second annual Kansas City Fashion Week, sending a Kansas City local to the 2012 Olympics in London, and now Google Fiber.