Feb 13th, 2013
Chances are, if you exist in the 21st century, you’ve heard of, and used Google, and have at the very least, a working knowledge of what they do. However, there is a possibility that you don’t know that one of the myriad services that Google provides is internet service.
Google Fiber was initially announced in 2010, and more than a thousand communities applied for a chance to be the first to be granted the boon of reasonably-priced, incredibly fast broadband service. In 2011, Kansas City, Kansas was the first to get on the Google train, and from then on, it’s been on like Donkey Kong.
For the time being, only Kansas and Utah have any cities with firehoses attached to their routers, but just how fast is it? Well, the United States currently averages around 20 Mbps (Megabits per second). If that doesn’t sound impressive, it’s because it isn’t. The United States is roughly ranked #32 worldwide. The top three are Luxembourg with 49.90 Mbps, Singapore at 52.62, and Hong Kong at a nitrous-fueled 63.42. Now, as fast as the world’s fastest broadband is, what Google is offering is almost 16 times that!
What’s that mean for you? Well, if you’re in Utah or Kansas (Texas is next on the list), then you’re one of the lucky chosen few. If you’re not, then don’t fret. Google isn’t the only game in town, and even if the incumbent providers aren’t able to match speeds exactly, many providers are currently, or intend to increase their speeds to stay competitive.
Now, having a connection as fast as this available is leaving a lot of consumers, providers, and even governments scratching their heads, as there aren’t currently any practical uses for such ridiculous bandwidth, though it’s not dissuading communities from signing up to get out from under sluggish and overpriced internet service providers. One such ISP has actually gone on record saying that American customers don’t need gigabit speeds, and another was nice enough to tell us that we didn’t want it anyway.
More pragmatic ISP’s are looking into dropping their prices, increasing their speeds and trying to keep the rumbling smoke monster that is Google from gobbling up all of their business.
One way to look at it could be future-proofing against new and more intensive means to use the Internet, or it could just be a case of broadband consumers finally getting what they pay for. Just, really, really fast.