Competition, competition, competition. That is something that Google Fiber has drastically improved broadband-wise across the country. Even if Google didn’t intend to have this effect, it has done so and then some. Cities went begging to Google to have their 1Gbps service installed in and around their cities.
Meanwhile, current broadband providers sat clueless as their residents repeatedly told horror stories of their local monopoly broadband company providing terrible service at high prices. Seriously, as of last year, the airline industry was more liked than internet service providers. Yet even today, ISP’s continue to act as stupid as ever when it comes to customer needs. Apparently, ISP’s still think they are loved by everyone even though cities are willing to change their name just to get good broadband service.
Isn’t it amazing how much faster broadband speeds are in parts of the country where there are a number of broadband options available to residents? How many times am I going to write an article detailing a broadband provider telling a city that they don’t need “fast” speeds even though the city is universally angry at their lack of broadband options?
We saw it in Louisville, KY where the city government was forced to find other companies to come into their city due to Time Warner Cable publicly stating the residents didn’t “need” faster speeds. Let’s not forget that Time Warner Cable is the same company whose COO claimed that nobody really wanted Google Fiber. Why? Because current TWC customers weren’t purchasing TWC’s highest broadband options.
Last week, Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo also told attendees at a conference that customers didn’t need 1Gbps speeds even though they could offer such speeds. He pointed to the fact that Verizon currently offers a 500Mbps package and that non-business rarely choose such a package. Therefore, the demand is just not there to offer 1Gbps speeds.
Of course, what both TWC and Verizon don’t mention is that most customers can’t afford Verizon or TWC’s high-speed packages because they generally cost several hundred dollars per month. For example, Verizon’s 500Mbps package currently costs a little less than $300 a month. That is more than four times Google Fiber’s price with half the speeds.
Last year, Comcast CEO Brian Robert spoke about Google Fiber by claiming that he “hoped that there will be a demand” for fiber. This statement led others, such as Motley Fool, to ask:
“Why hasn’t Comcast’s ultra-fast connection been made widely available at a price point somewhere close to Fiber’s $70 a month? His answer? We don’t need it, nor do we want it.” – Motley Fool
Just today, CenturyLink decided to state similar things with a spokesman for them claiming that “customers are not clamoring for the speed provided by fiber.” If anyone thinks that CenturyLink users don’t want faster speeds without needing to take out a new mortgage, just take a look at CenturyLink’s forums at DSLReports. Or take notice of how many cities are currently begging their cities to get into the municipal broadband game because of the cities disgust for CenturyLink service.
Which is why the United States on the whole continues to suffer from an overall lack of broadband options and therefore continues to lag behind numerous developed nations on broadband speed and prices.
The study took a look at broadband speeds and prices in 24 US cities and around the world, ranking cities based on both price and speed. They found what every other objective study has found: the US is lagging behind while busily pretending its a world leader in the space. – Karl Bode, DSLReports
While the study notes that broadband speeds have improved for the more expensive packages, it takes the U.S. to task for how little the lower speed packages have improved even though the prices for these lower-tier packages continues to increase.
“Many of the improved plans are at the higher speed tiers, which generally are the most expensive plans available. The lower speed packages—which are often more affordable for the average consumer—have not seen as much of an improvement according to the data we have collected.” – Open Technology Institute
This must be why cable providers such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable continue to end up at or near the bottom of every customer service list. We have seen ISPs spend a lot of time in the last few years telling consumers that they have no need for Google Fiber. After they say that a few times, they then build their own 1Gbps service in limited parts of the country. This is usually followed with the cable provider sending out as many press packets as possible stating how that cable provider is now providing 1Gbps service. In AT&T’s case, they are flat out lying as few if any cities will see those 1Gbps speeds for the foreseeable future.
Now Google is going after small-to-medium sized businesses (SMB) with Google Fiber ‘s “Early Access Program.” Previously, Google Fiber was strictly for homes and not businesses of any kind. But now, that is slowly changing. At the moment, only select businesses in Kansas City, MO and Kansas City, KS markets can access this business program from Google.
Google is sending out mailers to those selected businesses and offering them an upcoming $100 per month business-class service. There is no actual launch date for the service but Google has said that it is something that should begin shortly.