On Thursday Google Inc. launched their highly anticipated, ultra high-speed gigabit network to the residents of Kansas City, Missouri.
The Google Fiber project, announced in 2010 and vied for by over 1,000 cities across the United States (including Topeka, Kansas, which went so far as to change it’s name to “Google” in the hopes of drawing the company’s attention), has finally been unveiled and will begin to spread by demand throughout the Kansas City region with a price tag of $70 per month.
The project is an ambitious venture into the service of lightning-fast broadband networks, a world that Google promises to change forever. Google’s network is expected to provide a cutting-edge broadband speed of one gigabit per second—that’s up to 100 times faster the current going rate.
The prototype network is projected to service an estimated 170,000 homes at this initial stage of development. While typical broadband providers reach millions more, Google’s chief financial officer Patrick Pichette believes the network is the beginning of a new generation of high-speed Internet access.
On its official blog, Google stated its mission to provide better access to users and revealed its challenge to developers. “We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it’s creating new bandwidth-intensive ‘killer apps’ and services, or other uses we can’t yet imagine.”
Registrants are offered a Fiber TV service as well, which comes equipped with a Nexus 7 tablet as remote, for an additional $50 per month. In defense of its somewhat lackluster and spotty channel listing, which misses such staples as CNN, Fox News, and ESPN, spokeswoman Jenna Wandres has confirmed their lineup will expand.
A free Internet plan is also available, however users are limited to upload and download speeds of 5 and 1 Mbps respectively—par for the course in terms of Internet speed—and must pay a standard $300 construction fee.
Unfortunately for the citizens of 48 other states watching in awe, Google seems to be focusing on Kansas and Missouri at the moment, and while Pichette has called the Fiber Network a “showcase,” there is yet no word confirming this project to be a nationwide endeavor.
For now, Google promises a model for the future, a precedent for new, uncharted grounds of instant connectivity.