Google Fiber

One gigabit of download speed. It’s easy to talk about, but not easily conceived. We can read all the stats and data we like, but until it’s experienced, none of it really makes sense.

So, how can we actually experience Fiber? Building a fiber optic network is a huge task, so how does Google accomplish it all? More importantly, we want to know how we can get it in our cities. We recently had a chat with the Fiber team, to ask all of our Fiber-y questions. We wanted to know how Fiber came to be, what it means for Google, and what it does for the cities (and citizens) lucky enough to have it.

Why choose the cities you do? We know the qualifications, but is there more to it than that?

Not really, no. It’s really all about demand. If you look at the three cities we’ve announced, so far we have growing tech scenes in every one of them. That’s a big deal for us. If you think about Fiber now, it’s hard to really describe what you can do with a gigabit. We feel those applications are the next generation of the web, but they haven’t been built yet. We want to bring Fiber to those places where people will be able to use it creatively to come up with those apps.

It’s really all about demand.

Another factor is that the city leadership is easy to work with. We like to have good relationships with the Mayor’s office and city council. We’re building a pretty big, advanced infrastructure in their area, and folks who are willing to work with us make the entire process easier.

Do things like municipally owned utilities factor in? It seems so simple to just enjoy a good working relationship with the city.

If you look at the different market’s we’re in, it’s all really different. It’s tough when we say that, because people may think Google is getting some sort of incentive or subsidy in having Fiber in the markets we do. We don’t get any kind of incentive or subsidy. At all. It’s more about the process for getting Fiber implemented, and figuring out ways to cut red tape, make response times faster, streamline the process for getting permits expedited, things like that. Anything that can trim a day or two off the process is huge for us in building the massive infrastructure that is Fiber throughout the city.

So, basically, you want a city government that is on the same page as you.

Exactly. Things as simple as providing a single liaison we can get in touch with at the city, who helps us route requests internally at the city. Those are a big help for us.


When you get to an area like Kansas City, why is Fiber good for the community?

One of the things that excited us about building in our first Fiberhood (Hanover Heights) last November was that there was a huge startup scene that swelled around Fiber coming to their neighborhood. Folks bought houses in the neighborhood. They even call it ‘startup village’! There were venture capitalists who bought houses. Brad Fell, a venture capitalist who lives in Colorado, bought a house and is now renting it out free to developers. There is a group of people who believe they can build apps using a gigabit, and there is a great energy of activity around that scene.

It’s hard to put a finger on the economic impact so far, but it’s really good for the city. We hope this type of startup energy ends up being a long-term benefit for any place Fiber goes. Fiber is just one element of the growing tech economy in Kansas City.

What is the cost associated with building Fiber out?

We don’t really like to comment on specific numbers, but it’s a very significant investment. I’d also point to the fact that the cost of building Fiber is lower than it traditionally has been. The cost of the actual fiber is much more affordable, and so are the electronics associated.

Another interesting thing is that we build by demand. In July, we announced our plans for Kansas City. Until September, we had a pre-registration period. We divided Kansas City into 202 ‘Fiberhoods’, which had a residential threshold. Those residents had to go online, and request Fiber. Those Fiberhoods who qualified, based on number of respondents, were on our list for build-out. 180 of the 202 Fiberhoods qualified, , so 89% of Kansas City is getting Fiber. If residents want Fiber, we give it to them, plain and simple. Those with the best response numbers get Fiber first, sure, but we bring it to all qualifying Fiberhoods.

So you just kind of go in, get focused, and build Fiber.

Exactly. In our first Fiberhood, we concentrated all of our efforts (installers, construction people, etc.) into Hanover Heights over the course of a few weeks, which allowed us to build Fiber out quickly and efficiently. That way, we didn’t have installers spreading themselves thin all over the city. They can concentrate on one neighborhood.

Things like that cut cost, cut time, and allow us to bring Fiber to neighborhoods really efficiently.

  • Matti M

    That’s too cool :O yah, fiber internet…. Maybe by 2016 i will also have Fiber tech internet. For now cable internet is fine and fast enough :).

    • James Bond II

      I heard that it will take at least 5 years to give everyone google fiber in the U.S. Maybe they sped up the process, but it don’t sound like they did. They’re still going through testing. Can’t wait to have that connection though :)

      • Matti M

        So long =( yhyhyhyhyy. And it doesnt need to be the google fiber but other sort of Fiber Tech good also. Maybe by 2016 i will have… We’ll see..

        • James Bond II

          We all hope so as soon as possible. Too bad I live in a small town.

  • Marm

    I guess I am lucky as I have 50/30 MB fiber since last September here in Canada. It is fast but I would like FASTER ;)

    • Doan

      That’s about the speed of my VZW LTE (although, my up is 10 less than yours).

    • simpleas

      Here’s what im getting :) Fios

      • Max

        I get 80mbps From Fios

        • simpleas

          Yeah we could upgrade too but at 80 dollars, 55s down and 35’s up are pretty damn good.

    • It would be depressing if I posted my speeds from TimeWarner Cable. Lets just say that TMobile’s LTE on my Samsung Galaxy 4S is as fast as my TimeWarner Cable “broadband”.

  • milksop held

    NBN for life

  • symbolset

    I’m sure I speak for almost everybody on the planet when I say: “here next!”

    There was some talk in the Google Fiber rollout about the digital divide where some neighbourhoods didn’t sign up in poorer areas, but the richer areas did. “The Troost line” I believe they called it. But Google has now announced intent to cover all of the initial fiberhoods even if they didn’t qualify by subscription because uptake in the area was so high. Least subscribers will of course be last because Google is a for-profit company. That may actually be an advantage as the middle tier doesn’t know what they’re missing and the crews aren’t going to circle back for them until after the initial waves are done.

    Google’s uptake of their fiber service for the best fiberhoods peaked at over 100% of the homes they thought were there. 30% was better than they could have hoped for. Over 100% has to be more than they thought possible in their most optimistic estimate. I think I want to “sell” Google fiber. That transaction would go something like: “Hi. I’m here to sell you Google Fiber” and then the customer wrestles me to the ground, chains me to a stump, and doesn’t let me go until they have a signed contract for delivery of the product for them and all their neighbours. And then they have a block party where I’m the guest of honour. We feast until dawn and then I have an ungodly amount of paperwork to do.

  • wh12

    What I don’t understand is that Google has apparently bypassed two
    technologies which would allow significantly lower cost, high speed
    internet and TV even making possible installation in the more expensive
    areas such as California where Google has said the cost is prohibitive.
    These technologies are 1) Using a fiber fed gigabit 802.11ac WiFi
    (5GHz) access node to provide about 30Mbps over the last 100-200 meters
    to each of about 30 homes eliminating the costly dedicated cabling
    whether fiber or copper. 2) The use of a virtual TV set top box which
    receives MPEG4 reducing speed to 5-7.5Mbps per TV and communicates with a
    server further up the fiber back bone eliminating the need for many
    simultaneous broadcast but unwatched and unrecorded (hence inefficient)
    TV channels to each home (the real need for 1Gbps fiber). In fact many
    new TVs come with WiFi (which connects at 2.4GHz with roof top adapter)
    and MPEG4 decoding for streaming, so the virtual set top may not even be

    Of course, most homes would need a roof top adapter with a
    high gain, 5GHz directional antenna (total one time cost about $200 plus
    installation) for adequate signal (and to reduce mutual interference) from the
    node up to 100-200 meters away. If a neighborhood has an access node
    every 200 meters, then a home roof top should have access to several
    nodes to avoid trees in the way.

    • symbolset

      Google is doing delivery of Internet broadband over wireless using TV whitespace – in Africa, India and other spots in the third world. If the tech works out they’ll bring it home to rural America. But Americans can be rather unpleasant about the quality of service of emerging technologies, so it’s best Google test it where folk are glad to have Internet at all.

  • TheMimic12

    Please bring it out east!!! I live in Indiana, and would LOVE having google fiber.

  • Alex

    The size of storage and files are only going to get bigger. I would think by the time google covers the whole u.s, things wont really change.

  • Paris Finnigan

    Fiber seems promising. But I don’t understand what we would do with the speed! My storage devices will be on the brink all the time! Cloud storage can only hold so much… I’m not complaining, but I’m wary of it. Human desire is primitive and constantly changing. We crave more each day. Wonder where we are gonna stop. Or will we, ever!?

  • Yaritza Miranda

    Led Lampen is faster

  • Robert Cocis

    this is what i get for 5 dollars in romania