1 Gbps has of course been the marketing buzzword du jour this year, companies offering a smattering of 1 Gbps connections to developments -- then heavily marketing them to give the impression of significantly larger upgrades. Cincinnati Bell is no exception, the company late this year launching their own "FiOptics" 1 Gbps offering
for $90 a month.
Speaking at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, Cincinnati Bell CFO Leigh Fox all but admitted that 1 Gbps has no practical use outside of a "marketing play," and that most people don't understand the benefits of 1 Gbps when compared to a 50 Mbps connection
"I don't think most consumers really understand what a Gig gets them versus a 50 Mbps pipe," Fox said. "There are some technology savvy consumers out there that do understand that and we do have a few that have caught onto the 1 Gig and it's resonated with them, but it was really more of a marketing play to change how the consumers view us as a company."
Most people know at this point that 1 Gbps is largely marketing hype, it's just rather rare for a company selling such services to admit it. Most consumers, meanwhile, continue to value price over ultra-fast speed -- provided their connection can handle the basics. The company continues to state that 20 Mbps is just around the sweet spot for most subscribers.
Last week Google unveiled pricing
for Google Fiber in Austin, and this week the company began taking the first sign ups for neighborhood deployments, as their "fiberhood" process gets underway. According to a Google blog post
, interested Austinites in the South and Southeast areas of the city can head here
to plug in their information and support their neighborhood as an initial build candidate.
AT&T has had their wrist slapped by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau for not being entirely honest when it comes to the availability of the company's 45 Mbps U-Verse tier. While AT&T started offering a 45 Mbps U-Verse tier last year, as we noted at the time it's not available to all U-Verse subscribers
, depending on your loop length, the availability of an extra copper pair, or the quality of local copper.
Google Fiber has come out with a little more build out and pricing details for their deployment in Austin. According to a Google website update
, the company confirms that Austin users will have three options at sign up, those options largely matching what we've seen in previous deployments in both Kansas City and Provo, Utah.
Not only was Kansas City the first market to get Google Fiber's symmetrical 1 Gbps service, but a smattering of competitors are responding by offering similar (or better) options. A company by the name of Consolidated Communications this week announced
that they'll soon be offering everyone within range of their fiber footprint symmetrical 1 Gbps connections for $70 a month with no installation or other fees.
September of last year wireless operator C Spire issued a rather surprising announcement
saying they were going to start deploying fixed-line broadband networks capable of 1 Gbps in several markets within their (mostly Southern) footprint. C Spire's initial focus will primarily be on Mississippi, where nine cities are currently in the running to be the first to get the speedier service.
As noted previously, Verizon's FiOS expansion has been over for several years
, with the exception of franchise build out promises for major cities (though some of those deployment promises, like in NYC, probably won't be met
). Still, some of the forgotten regions in Verizon's footprint (like Alexandria, Baltimore, Buffalo & Boston) continue to hold out hope that the company will eventually decide to extend FiOS a little bit further.
After mocking other 1 Gbps deployments as "hype" that "confuses customers," Frontier Communications last week quietly started offering 1 Gbps service under the FiberHome brand to a few development communities in Durham
. According to Frontier, the 1 Gbps service will run users $220 a month.
Last year, Frontier Communications CEO Maggie Wilderotter stated that people don't really need 1 Gbps, and that the 3 to 6 Mbps most of her customers can get was just fine for most people
. Last summer, trying to downplay the fact said 3-6 Mbps is painfully uncompetitive, Wilderotter called Google Fiber "hype" that "confuses customers
," and that even talking about 1 Gbps services was something that was "disrespectful" to the customer base.
32 cities in nineteen different states have formed a coalition aimed at building networks in those cities that private ISPs have so far refused to. Dubbed the Next Century Cities
coalition, the organization will aim to share knowledge and resources that aid the delivery of next-generation 1 Gbps networks. "The leaders whose communities participate in Next Century Cities know that reliable, affordable, and fast Internet is no longer a luxury," states the organization. "Like electricity and plumbing, it is now essential infrastructure." The group arises as the FCC looks to dismantle
portions of ISP-written protectionist state laws that prohibit towns and cities from building their own networks -- even if nobody else will. The full city member list can be found here
South Korea's SK Telecom today is showing off 10 Gbps connectivity SK Broadband at the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union. According to Akamai’s Q2 2014 The State of the Internet report, South Korea tops the charts by delivering an average Internet connection speed of 24.6Mbps, significantly faster than the fourteenth place 11.4Mbps seen by the US. story continues..
While there has been some concerns over whether or not Google Fiber will leave some potential neighborhoods high and dry, the latest stats suggest
that 95% of Kansas City neighborhoods have now qualified for service. There's a large chunk of neighborhoods scattered around the Kansas City area that didn't qualify, and criticism continues over how Google's "fiberhood" approach excludes some.
Former Google Fiber boss Milo Medin recently proclaimed that the most difficult obstacle for Google in deploying fiber isn't digging ditches or dealing with government -- it's securing TV programming. Video "is the single biggest impediment" to Google Fiber deployment, Medin told attendees
of the COMPTEL telecom conference in Dallas this week. "We operate at a very significant difference than incumbents we compete against," said Medin, who called programming "biggest piece of our cost structure." "We may be paying in some markets double what incumbents are paying for the same programming," he added.
On the heels of tweaking plans earlier this year
, GVTC, Texas' largest telephone cooperative and a cable and FTTH overbuilder, has jumped into the 1 Gbps game. According to a company announcement
, GVTC says they've already brought 1 Gbps speeds to the 40,000 homes in the San Antonio area already connected to their 2,200 mile fiber network. According to the company's website
, pricing across the company's tiers is a bit higher than what we've seen elsewhere, with their 1 Gbps down, 100 Mbps up tier running $295 a month. The company also offers 20/3 Mbps ($80), 40/10 Mbps ($100), 80/20 Mbps ($130), and 200/50 Mbps ($200) options.
Back in July Verizon announced
that the company would be making all of their FiOS tiers symmetrical, a move that was specifically aimed at cable operators struggling to keep upstream speeds on par with fiber offerings. Verizon this week took this same fight to cable operators on the small business side, announcing that they're now bumping the upstream speeds for business customers as well. According to the company announcement
, the upgrades should happen automatically for "nearly all" of the company's FiOS business customers.
Comcast last night filed their reply comments to the FCC as the agency considers approving the company's $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The filing is filled with the sort of arguments we've seen countless times already
over the past few months, including Comcast's repeated claim that they face so much competition on every front
there's simply no way they'd ever engage in anti-competitive behavior.
Google has replaced current Google Fiber boss Milo Medin with ex-Qualcomm executive Dennis Kish, notes the Wall Street Journal
. The report notes that Medin will remain a Google vice president for access services and adviser to the Google Fiber team, but will now focus on other initiatives within Google.
Residents of North Kansas City are unable to get Google Fiber, but they will soon have the option of getting 1 Gbps connections for free from another company -- after an initial $300 installation fee. Earlier this month the City Council of North Kansas City voted to approve a 10-year agreement with DataShack for the operation of the city's liNKCity fiber optic network. While the taxpayer-funded network will still collect revenue from business, it will soon offer 1 Gbps connections for free to residential customers after a $300 installation fee
(users also have the option of paying $100 for 100 Mbps or $50 for 50 Mbps), after which they won't pay another dime for a decade. "For the longest time, our taxpayers have been paying in to fund liNKCity," states liNKCity's Mellissa Hopkins. "We decided it was the right time to give something back to our residents."
Back in May TDS Telecom (see our user reviews
) became the latest company to throw its hat into the 1 Gbps broadband ring, offering 1 Gbps speeds for $100 a month (if bundled) to residents of Hollis, New Hampshire and London, New Hampshire. Now the company states that Waterford, Wisconsin will be the latest town to get the 1 Gbps treatment, either later this year or in early 2015
. Like so many other ISPs, TDS is hoping to grab some of the press attention received by Google Fiber with very selective deployment of similar speeds (they've even mirrored Google's "Fiberhood" efforts with something they're calling "Fiberville
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