'What is Google Fibre?': Everything you need to know about Google's high-speed internet service

  • Google Fibre is a broadband internet service that Google is currently deploying in 18 cities across the US.
  • The service is notable because of its high speed, running up to 1000 Mbps, with a friendly month-to-month, all-inclusive pricing scheme.
  • Despite the initial promise of the network, Google has paused expansion of Fibre beyond its current 18 cities, and notably pulled Fibre out of several cities where it attempted to deploy the service.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google Fibre is Google’s fibre optic-based broadband internet service that debuted in 2010. It’s a “fibre-to-the-premises” service that delivers high-speed connectivity to businesses and individuals in select cities.

While it once appeared that Google intended to roll out Google Fibre across the entire US, the company “paused” deployment of the service in 2016, and it hasn’t announced plans for further expansion beyond its current selection of 18 cities.

“We do not have anything to share on expanding beyond our current markets at this time,” a Google Fibre spokesperson told Business Insider, when asked about possible expansion of the service. “Currently, we’re focused on providing a great customer service experience for customers in the areas where we are available.”

Where Google Fibre currently operates

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can visit the Google Fibre website to check availability and sign up for the service.

The service is currently operating or rolling out operations in 18 cities, including: Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and 11 others.

Google has recently pulled Fibre out of a few other cities, including Boston, Massachusetts, and the notable case of Louisville, Kentucky, where Google will reportedly pay $US4 million to the city over the next 19 months for damages resulting from a failed attempt to deploy the service.

But if you’re located in one of the cities in which Google Fibre currently operates, you can enter your address to check for availability at your specific address (coverage within cities is not comprehensive), sign up for service, or get additional information on the Google Fibre website.

What Google Fibre offers

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderEven in cities that have deployed Google Fibre, availability can be somewhat limited.

Much of the appeal of Google Fibre is in its bandwidth. While the national average for internet access is about 11.5 Mbps, Google Fibre boasts a top speed of 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps) at the highest tier of service.

Like most broadband internet services, Google Fibre is a shared network, which means that the speed you can achieve depends upon how much data your neighbours are using at the same time. But because Google Fibre is built to support 1000 Mbps, the bandwidth is so high that it’s unlikely any individual customer’s bandwidth would be affected by other customers.

The pricing for service varies by region, but most Google Fibre customers can expect to pay about $US50/month for 100 Mbps service and $US70/month for 1000 Mbps. Google Fibre also includes an option for cable television, which adds about $US90/month to the basic plan. In all cases, the pricing is all-inclusive and billed month-to-month, with no annual service contracts, fees for rental equipment, or monthly data caps.

The service’s change of course

Since Google has pulled back plans to deploy Google Fibre widely across the US, and pulled out of several cities it attempted to deploy in, critics have occasionally labelled the initiative a “failure.”

While this at least represents a notable change of course for the company, one industry insider told Business Insider that Google Fibre’s presence in Austin, Texas, in particular, has had a positive effect on the local broadband industry, spurring competition and even growth.

Dustin Bolander, CIO of IT Strategy company Clear Guidance Partners, told Business Insider: “Here in Austin, we have seen some of Google’s competitors cut prices by as much as 50% in response to the hype that accompanies Google Fibre.”

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