Google Fiber, Fast Broadband/TV Service, Starts in Kansas City

PHOTO: Google Fiber, Googles broadband internet network, is launching first in Kansas City, Kansas.
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It almost sounds like a new cereal, but Google's Fiber is the search giant's fast new Internet and TV service. The company has been working on it for the last year and a half. The service was detailed today by Google, and residents of Kansas City can now pre-register to get it.

"Google Fiber starts at a speed 100 times faster than most Americans have today," Milo Medin, vice president of access services at Google, said at the Fiber event today in Kansas City.

According to Google, the connection will run at 1,000Mb per second -- much faster than Verizon's 300Mb-per-second FIOS service, which is also fiber based. Fiber-optic connections provide much faster speeds than DSL and cable.

The faster Internet connection will enable faster web surfing, video streaming, and uploading; downloading a movie will take just a few minutes. Google's Network Box, a box it will provide to customers, will serve as a hub for the service in houses, but it will also require special installation to get the hook-up. The box is also a Wi-Fi router and has four Ethernet ports.

Google's also providing the TV offering to compete against other cable and Internet providers. The company will provide the full TV channel lineup and an HD TV box that is capable of recording up to eight shows at the same time. The box has built-in Netflix and YouTube streaming capabilities. Google's latest Nexus 7 tablet will also be included in some packages and will work as a remote.

The pricing structure is also unique. For $120 a month Kansas City residents can get the Internet connection and TV; there's no construction or installation fee. For $70 a month, they can just sign up to get Internet connectivity.

On top of that Google is offering Internet with no monthly fee. However, to get it you need to pay a $300 construction or installation fee. There is no data cap on any of the plans, meaning customers will get unlimited Internet access every month. The free option is guaranteed for at least seven years and includes the network box.

While it all sounds better than the competing services out there, availability is very limited for now.

Google is planning to accommodate everyone in Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kans., but it is requiring people there to pay $10 to pre-register now with their neighbors. The areas that have the most registrants will be the first to get the service in their neighborhoods -- or what Google is cleverly calling "Fiberhoods."

"We believe Google Fiber is best when you have a critical mass of users," Medin said at the event.

Technology analysts point out that this is just a project.

"It's all part of a larger experiment which is typical Google. Put something out there as a stake in the ground. Learn from the effort and iterate quickly," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "It certainly looks to be a compelling deal at face value, but when it comes to this level of effort, it's all about the details, levels of service and overall experience that matter."

Google has not discussed plans to expand its Fiber offering beyond Kansas City. If you live in Kansas City, you can pre-register here.

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