Google Fiber to Have ‘No Caps, No Overage Charges,' Exec Says

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Google has announced the long-awaited details of its forthcoming fiber-to-the-home Internet and IPTV services in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. The Internet service, which provides symmetrical streams of 1 Gbps, includes “no caps, no overage charges,” Google Vice President of Access Milo Medin said at the company's July 26 launch event in Kansas City, Mo.

The company says it will determine where it will initially connect residents to the Google Fiber service over the next several months based on online registrations. About 10 percent of a neighborhood's households will have to sign up for the service before connections can begin there.

The IPTV service will include 161 channels and multiscreen access; a 2-Terabyte DVR, capable of storing up to 500 hours of HD programming and recording up to eight shows at once; and tens of thousands of VOD titles, Google said. The video service also will have a TV Everywhere component, so that users can watch video on Android and iOS devices.

Google's 1-Gig Internet service includes a home router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports. The TV set-top boxes include built-in access to Netflix and YouTube. As a promotion, Google will give new TV subscribers a free Nexus 7, an Android tablet that can function as a remote control.

The Google Fiber TV service also will include local content. But a listing of the service's initial channel lineup excludes a number of top cable networks, including HBO, Disney Channel, ESPN, Fox News Channel, TNT, TBS, and AMC, Multichannel News notes.

Google will charge $70 per month for stand-alone Internet service, and $120 per month for a TV/1 Gbps Internet bundle, with a two-year contract. Users also have the option to get 5 Mbps downstream Internet access for no monthly charge for at least seven years, if they pay either a one-time $300 “construction fee” or $25 per month for 12 months.

Google has described its FTTH buildout as an experiment aimed at pushing policymakers to enact guidelines, strategies, and regulations that will spur faster broadband speeds. The average Internet speeds in the U.S. are 5.8 Mbps and 1.2 Mbps up, which is far slower than the rest of the developed world, Medin said.

The company has pledged to provide free 1-Gbps access to more than 200 government buildings, schools and libraries in the area. Google had originally planned to begin signing up customers for the service in the fourth quarter of last year, but ultimately held off until the buildout was farther along.

By Scott Sleek