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Google Fiber

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Google Fiber

Google Fiber logo

Google Fiber is Google's fiber-to-the-premises service in the United States, providing broadband internet and television to a small and slowly increasing number of locations.[1] The service was first introduced to Kansas City, Kansas,[2] and is being rolled out to Kansas City, Missouri, with plans for expansion to several other Kansas City area suburbs, as well as Austin, Texas, and Provo, Utah. In February 2014, Google announced they had chosen another 34 cities as candidates for future expansion.[3]


Google Fiber Network Box

Google Fiber offers three options. There's a free broadband internet option, a 1 Gbit/s internet option, and an option including television service (in addition to the 1 Gbit/s internet). The internet service includes one terabyte of Google Drive service; the television service includes a two terabyte DVR in addition to the Google Drive. The DVR can record up to eight live television shows simultaneously. In addition, television service will also stream live program content on iPad and Android tablet computers. Nexus 7 tablet no longer offered to new subscribers

Google offers several different service plans to their customers:[4]
Plan Gigabit + TV Gigabit Free Internet
Internet bandwidth (download) 1 Gbit/s 1 Gbit/s 5 Mbit/s
Internet bandwidth (upload) 1 Gbit/s 1 Gbit/s 1 Mbit/s
TV service included Yes No No
Storage included 2 TB DVR Storage
(8 simultaneous recordings possible)
1 TB Google Drive
1 TB Google Drive None
Hardware included Remote control (TV)
TV box
Network box
Storage box (DVR)
Network box Network box
Price (not including taxes and fees) ~$120/month (extra for optional TV channels) ~$70/month free for up to 10 years per address, after a $30-$300 one-time construction fee


In order to avoid underground cabling complexity for the last mile, Google Fiber relies on aggregators dubbed Google Fiber Huts.

From these Google Fiber Huts, the fiber cables travel along utility poles into neighborhoods and homes, and stop at a Fiber Jack (an Optical Network Terminal or ONT) in each home.[5]

First city selection process

Google Fiber goes to Kansas City

The initial location was chosen following a competitive selection process.[6] Over 1,100 communities applied to be the first recipient of the service.[7] Google originally stated that they would announce the winner or winners by the end of 2010; however, in mid-December, Google pushed back the announcement to "early 2011" due to the number of applications.[8][9][10]

The request form was simple,[11] and, some have argued, too straightforward.[12] This led to various attention-getting behaviors by those hoping to have their town selected.[12] Some examples are given below:

Municipalities and citizens have also uploaded YouTube videos to support their bids. Some examples:


In 2011, Google launched a trial in a residential community of Palo Alto, California.[21] On March 30 of the same year, Kansas City, Kansas was selected as the first city to receive Google Fiber.[2] In 2013, Austin, TX and Provo, UT were announced as expansion cities for Google Fiber on April 9 and 17 respectively.


Kansas City metro

Google found that affluent neighborhoods in Kansas City signed up for the faster service while those in poorer neighborhoods did not have access to the Internet. In response to this digital literacy programs in Kansas City.[22]

The following are chronological announcements of service in the Kansas City metropolitan area. Neighborhoods are said to be selected based on demand.:[23]

  • Kansas City, Kansas – On March 30, 2011, KCK was selected from over 1,100 applicants to be the first Google Fiber community.[2]
  • Kansas City, Missouri – Seventeen days after the initial announcement regarding KCK, Google announced the decision to include Kansas City, Missouri, thus offering service to both sides of the state line. The network became available to residents in September 2012.
  • Olathe, Kansas – On March 19, 2013 Google announced that the project would be expanded to Olathe.[24]
  • North Kansas City, Missouri – April 19, 2013 Google announced that they were to begin a 20 year lease on the existing LINKCity fiber network in North Kansas City.[25] The system in North Kansas City will also be upgraded to Gigabit capacity.[25] There was a conflicting report in one local paper that Google is only renting LinkCity's "dark fiber" and will not be taking over operation of the LinkCity system.[26]

Google placed deployment in Overland Park, Kansas on indefinite hold in October 2013, following delays by the City Council over concerns about whether an indemnification clause that Google required might force the city to repair any damage caused by the project.[40] As of July 2014, Overland Park's City Council had voted on a deal that would allow for Google Fiber. Soon after, the city appeared on Google Fiber's website. [41]


  • Austin, Texas – On April 9, 2013 it was announced that Austin would become a Google Fiber City.[42]
  • On October 15, 2014 it was announced that Austin signups for Google Fiber would start in December 2014.[43]
  • On December 3rd, 2014 Google started taking registrations from residents and small businesses.[44]


  • Provo, Utah – On April 17, 2013 it was announced that Provo would become the third Google Fiber City.[45] Expansion of Google Fiber service to Provo, Utah will be accomplished through an agreement[46] with the City of Provo to allow Google to acquire the existing fiber network known as "iProvo". The agreement will allow Google to purchase the iProvo network for $1, while requiring Google to upgrade the aging network to gigabit capacity, offer free gigabit service to 25 local public institutions, and offer 5 Mbit/s service to every home in the city for free after a reduced ($30 in Provo compared to $300 in Kansas City) activation fee.[47]

Future expansion

In February 2014, Google announced it had "invited cities in nine metro areas around the U.S.—34 cities altogether—to work with us to explore what it would take to bring them Google Fiber."[3]

The nine metropolitan areas are: Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose.[3] This includes the following cities:[48]

According to Google, the company will have "updates on which cities will get Fiber by the end of the year."[48]

On April 15, 2014, Google began polling business users on their need for gigabit service, that they would be "conducting a pilot program where we'll connect a limited number of small businesses to our network."[49]

Related activities

In 2010 the company spent $1.9 billion to acquire 111 Eighth Avenue, the third largest building in New York City which sits on top of a trunk dark fiber line and was one of the country's most important carrier hotels. Despite speculation that Google Fiber was coming to the city, Google has flatly denied it was coming and allowed the dark fiber line underneath its building to be acquired by another company.[22]


Time Magazine has claimed that rather than wanting to actually operate as an Internet service provider, the company was just hoping to shame the major cable operators into improving their service so that Google searches could be done faster. Google has neither confirmed nor denied this claim.[22]

According to one analyst report, it is projected that the Google Fiber network could reach 8 million U.S. homes by 2022 at an estimated cost of $7 billion, assuming Google would target only select neighborhoods, as it has done with its Kansas City deployment. These estimates are similar to an earlier Goldman Sachs report that projects Google could connect approximately 830,000 homes a year at the cost of $1.25 billion a year, or a total of 7.5 million homes in nine years at a cost of slightly over $10 billion.[50]

In January 2014 a bill was introduced in the Kansas Legislature (Senate Bill 304, referred to as the "Municipal Communications Network and Private Telecommunications Investment Safeguards Act") which would prevent Google Fiber from expanding further in Kansas using the model used in Kansas City.[51][52] The bill proposes: "Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:

  1. Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or
  2. purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers."

As of February 2014, Senate Bill 304 (SB304) had lost momentum in the Kansas state senate, and the bill's sponsor, Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association (KCTA), indicated that it is highly unlikely that it will continue to pursue the legislation in the current legislative session.[53]

Technical specifications

Google Fiber will provide an Internet connection speed of one gigabit per second (1,000 Mbit/s) for both download and upload[54] which is roughly 100 times faster access than what most Americans have.[4] Google Fiber says its service allows for the download of a full movie in less than two minutes.[55]

In order to utilize gigabit speeds as of 2013, devices would require support for Gigabit Ethernet and category 5 or greater cabling, or a 802.11ac compatible WiFi router and wireless adapter.[note 1][56]

Prohibition of servers

When first launched, Google Fiber's terms of service stated that its subscribers were not allowed to create any type of server: "Your Google Fiber account is for your use and the reasonable use of your guests. Unless you have a written agreement with Google Fiber permitting you do so, you should not host any type of server using your Google Fiber connection, use your Google Fiber account to provide a large number of people with Internet access, or use your Google Fiber account to provide commercial services to third parties (including, but not limited to, selling internet access to third parties)."[57]

The Electronic Frontier Foundation criticized the practice, noting the ambiguity of the word "server" which might (or might not) include such common application protocols as BitTorrent, Skype, and Spotify, as well as the effect of and on IPv6 adoption due its lack of NAT technical limitations on network servers, but also noted similar prohibitions from other ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon, Cox, and AT&T.[58]

In October 2013, the acceptable use policy for Google Fiber was modified to allow "personal, non-commercial use of servers".[59][60]

April Fools' hoaxes

On April Fools' Day 2007, Google hosted a signup for Google TiSP offering "Google TiSP (BETA) is a fully functional, end-to-end system that provides in-home wireless access by connecting your commode-based TiSP wireless router to one of thousands of TiSP Access Nodes via fiber-optic cable strung through your local municipal sewage lines."[61]

On April Fools' Day 2012, Google Fiber announced that their product was an edible Google Fiber bar instead of fiber-optic Internet broadband. It is stated that the Google Fiber bar delivers "what the body needs to sustain activity, energy, and productivity."[62]

On April Fools' Day 2013, Google Fiber announced the introduction of Google Fiber to the Pole. The description provided was "Google Fiber to the Pole provides ubiquitous gigabit connectivity to fiberhoods across Kansas City. This latest innovation in Google Fiber technology enables users to access Google Fiber's ultrafast gigabit speeds even when they are out and about." Clicking on the "Learn more" and "Find a pole near you" buttons displayed a message reading "April Fool’s! While Fiber Poles don’t exist, we are working on a bunch of cool stuff that does. Keep posted on all things Fiber by checking out our blog."[63]

The April Fools' Day 2014 prank was an announcement of Coffee To The Home, using a spout on the fiber jack where the service enters the customer's home to deliver customized coffee drinks.[64]

See also

  • Project Loon, Google's research project aiming to provide Internet access to rural and remote areas via high-altitude balloons


  1. ^ The 802.11a/b/g/n wireless protocols cannot achieve 1 gigabit speeds. The one exception, 802.11ac theoretically supports up to 1.3 Gbit/s (162.5 megabytes per second). However, as of 2013 commercially available 802.11ac devices achieve ≤0.5 Gbit/s under optimum conditions.


  1. ^ Helft, Miguel (2010-03-21). "Hoping for Gift From Google? Go Jump in the Lake". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c "Ultra high-speed broadband is coming to Kansas City, Kansas". 
  3. ^ a b c "Official Blog: Exploring new cities for Google Fiber". February 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  4. ^ a b "Service plans and pricing". Fiber Help. Google. Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  5. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". 2012-04-09. Retrieved 2014-03-14. 
  6. ^ Malik, Om (February 11, 2010). "How Much Will Google’s Fiber Network Cost?". 
  7. ^ "More than 1,100 communities seek Google network". Associated Press. 2010-03-27. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  8. ^ "Google Fiber for Communities".  
  9. ^ Medin, Milo (2010-12-15). "An update on Google Fiber".  
  10. ^ Anderson, Nate (2010-12-15). "Google delays its 1Gbps fiber announcement".  
  11. ^ Google Fiber for Communities
  12. ^ a b c d e Van Buskirk, Eliot (March 11, 2010). "Al Franken Jokes, But Google Fiber Is No Laughing Matter".  
  13. ^ "Greenville Feels Lucky". Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  14. ^ Helft, Miguel (March 26, 2010). "Cities Rush to Woo Google Broadband Before Friday Deadline". New York Times  
  15. ^ Silver, Curtis (March 10, 2010). "I, Google".  
  16. ^ Murphy, David (March 7, 2010). "The 5 Strangest City Pitches for Google's New Fiber-Optic Service".  
  17. ^ "Al Franken YouTube video". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  18. ^ "Ann Arbor YouTube channel". Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  19. ^ Ann Arbor GoogleFest
  20. ^ Reed, Tina (March 26, 2010). "Ann Arbor 'mob' makes another case to attract Google Fiber". 
  21. ^ a b "Google Fiber Goes Live Near Stanford". August 22, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c Gustin, Sam (September 14, 2012). "Google Fiber Issues Public Challenge: Get Up To Speed!". Time. Retrieved 2013-05-26. 
  23. ^ Google Gets Into the Cable TV Business, for Real, All Things Digital, July 26, 2012.
  24. ^ "Google Fiber is coming to Olathe, Kansas". 2013-03-19. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  25. ^ a b Farivar, Cyrus. "North Kansas City leases network to Google Fiber". Kansas City Business Journal. Retrieved April 19, 2013. North Kansas City will lease its LINKCity fiber-optic data network to Google Fiber. The City Council approved a 20-year agreement Tuesday worth $3.2 million 
  26. ^ Vockrodt, Steve (May 7, 2013). "Google Fiber bails out North Kansas City's fiber-optic misfire". The Pitch. Retrieved May 14, 2013. This doesn't mean we're delivering Google Fiber service to the city of North Kansas City," Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres says. "It just means we're using their fiber as a pass-through to get to surrounding areas. 
  27. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". May 2, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  28. ^ Canon, Scott (May 3, 2013). "Raytown latest city promised Google Fiber". Kansas City Star. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". May 7, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". May 13, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". May 22, 2013. Retrieved May 26, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". June 20, 2013. Retrieved ~{0} ~{1}. 
  33. ^ "Google Fiber Blog". June 27, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
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  35. ^ "Leawood, Kansas Approves Fiber". Google Fiber Blog. Google. 19 August 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Fiber for Merriam, Kansas". Google Fiber Blog. Google. August 26, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Rolling into Roeland Park, Kan.". Google Fiber Blog. Google. September 3, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  38. ^ a b "Fiber’s coming to Mission Hills and Fairway". Google Fiber Blog. Google. September 9, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  39. ^ "Bringing Fiber to Lenexa, Kan.". Google Fiber Blog. Google. September 17, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  40. ^ Canon, Scott; Bhargava, Jennifer (October 25, 2013). "Momentary stall in Overland Park puts Google Fiber on long hold". Kansas City Star. McClatchy. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  41. ^ "Overland Park reaches deal to bring in Google Fiber Read more:". KMBC. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  42. ^ "Google Fiber's next stop Austin Texas". 2013-04-09. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  43. ^ "Google Announces December Fiber Signups for South Austin". 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2014-10-15. 
  44. ^ "Google Fiber goes live in Austin". Rapid TV News. 2014-12-03. Retrieved 2014-12-03. 
  45. ^ "Google Fiber – On the Silicon Prairie, the Silicon Hills, and now the Silicon Slopes". Today the Google Fiber team is in Provo, Utah, where Mayor John Curtis just announced that we intend to make Provo our third Google Fiber City. 
  46. ^ "Asset Purchase Agreement". THIS ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT... ...between Google Fiber Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Purchaser”), and Provo City Corporation, a Utah municipal corporation (“Seller”). 
  47. ^ "Network Services Agreement". ...terms and conditions upon which Google Fiber will provide high speed broadband internet access services to the City and certain residents of Provo, free of charge. 
  48. ^ a b "The future of Fiber". Google. February 19, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  49. ^ "Google Fiber - Questionnaire for small business". Google. Retrieved 15 April 2014. 
  50. ^ "Google Fiber Could Reach 8 Million Homes By 2022", Elise Ackerman, Forbes, June 14, 2013. Retrieved September 2013.
  51. ^
  52. ^ "Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband - Slashdot". 2014-01-31. Retrieved 2014-02-20. 
  53. ^ "'It’s dead': Kansas municipal Internet ban was 'stabbed, shot, and hanged'", Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  54. ^
  55. ^ "Google Wants To Expand Its Ultrafast Internet In USA". What is USA News. 21 February 2014. Retrieved 2013-09-12. 
  56. ^ "Router Charts - 5 GHz Downlink". SmallNetBuilder. 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2013-10-01. 
  57. ^ Singel, Ryan (30 July 2013). "Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality".  
  58. ^ Auerbach, Dan (12 August 2013). "'"Google Fiber Continues Awful ISP Tradition of Banning 'Servers.  
  59. ^ Fenley, John (15 October 2013). "Google Fiber has changed its terms of service...".  
  60. ^ Brodkin, Jon (15 October 2013). "Google Fiber now explicitly permits home servers". Ars Technica. 
  61. ^ Google (1 April 2007). "Welcome to Google TiSP". Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  62. ^ Google (1 April 2012). "Introducing the Google Fiber Bar" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 5 May 2013. 
  63. ^ Google Fiber (31 March 2013). "Google Fiber to the Pole" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 6 August 2014. 
  64. ^ Google Fiber (1 April 2014). "Introducing Coffee to the Home" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 1 April 2014. 

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