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. They're not specifically saying how many customers will see the upgrade, but about 2,500 of the company's customers overlap with Google Fiber
"While the demand is still relatively low for a 1 Gig connection, this launch puts us ahead of the curve and lets our customers know that we have the products, services and bandwidth they need both today and tomorrow," states the company.
More candidly, the company states
that "natural tendency was to jump on that bandwagon and because of the marketing buzz we're kind of forced into that discussion, but our average customer doesn't use that bandwidth."
Since Google Fiber arrived on the scene, companies of all stripes and sizes have been tripping over themselves to offer 1 Gbps service. Some of these deployments are significant, and some are little more than "fiber to the press release," where companies only target high-end developments, then try their best to make the deployments seem much larger in scope than they are.
Municipal operations have increasingly been joining the fun as well. Residents of North Kansas City were recently informed they'd be able to get a 1 Gbps connection for free
(after a $300 install charge) after the city struck a 10-year agreement with DataShack for the operation of the city's liNKCity fiber optic network.
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
Verizon today reminded us in a press release
(and a video, below) that the company's FioS initiative is officially ten years old. The company refreshingly bucked timid industry trends a decade ago, then CEO Ivan Seidenberg bullishly spending $24 billion on fiber to the home services that offered unheard-of speeds with no usage caps of any kind.
You can add St. Louis to the growing list of cities where AT&T says they'll offer some users 1 Gbps "Gigapower" speeds. story continues..
The Wall Street Journal
has an interesting article exploring complaints on how Google Fiber (and responding, highly-selective deployments by CenturyLink, AT&T, and others) may fuel a digital divide by only upgrading select residents in certain cities. That said, the article claims that Google Fiber's ability to deploy fiber to just select locations helped save them 20% over traditional builds like Verizon's FiOS. "If Verizon resumes expansion, the company would consider Google's build-to-demand model because it has the potential to be more profitable," Verizon executive Chris Levendos tells the paper.
Add Jacksonville to the growing list of AT&T markets where the company will selectively deploy 1 Gbps U-Verse "Gigapower" service. According to the latest AT&T announcement
, Jacksonville will join the list of planned AT&T cities, which so far includes Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Charlotte, Houston, Greensboro, Raleigh-Durham, and Winston-Salem and Miami. As with all the announcements, AT&T says that "specific locations of availability and pricing for the Jacksonville market will be announced at a later date." As noted previously
, these deployments will primarily focus on a very select number of high-end development communities, though AT&T's getting ample marketing mileage in their PR battle with Google Fiber. Update
: Cuppertino in Silicon Valley
is also being named as a Gigapower market.
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