Google Fiber, the company's high-speed Internet and cable television service, hopes to begin hookups to subscribers in Provo, Utah, by the end of 2013 as the company continues to upgrade existing infrastructure for the new, faster services.
"In July, we completed our agreement with the City of Provo, and we're working hard to hit our goal of getting our first Google Fiber customers hooked up before the end of the year," wrote Michael Slinger, director of business operations for Google Fiber, in an Aug. 15 post on the Google Fiber Blog.
The first step is getting underway as the company works to upgrade the existing fiber network in Provo to be Gigabit-ready, wrote Slinger. The existing fiber-optic network, which was owned by the city and is being purchased by Google, began construction in 2004, but by 2011 a partner was being sought to take over the stalled system.
Google Fiber officials are "spending a lot of time talking with property managers and owners of large apartment building and condominiums" to plan where the first service rollouts will occur, he wrote. "Planning for and installing Google Fiber in these big buildings takes a lot of time, so if you manage a building with 5 or more units, we'd love to start chatting with you now."
Pricing for service in Provo for Google Fiber has now been established at $70 per month for Gigabit Internet service with speeds of up to 1G bps download and upload, and $120 per month for Gigabit Internet and television service, wrote Slinger. The TV service will provide hundreds of HD channels and allow users to record up to eight shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HD content on a digital storage unit. A free Internet plan will also be offered with basic broadband speeds of up to 5M bps download and 1M bps upload. The free service will be available to residents for at least seven years, according to Google Fiber.
"Each of these plans will require a one-time $30 construction fee which you'll pay when you choose your plan (for single family homes) or your landlord will pay after they sign an agreement with us to wire up your apartment/condo," wrote Slinger.
Customers of the existing Veracity system in single-family homes will continue to maintain their existing service and later this year will have the option of becoming a Google Fiber customer with faster Internet and improved TV service, wrote Slinger.
Provo residents can get the latest information of the fiber rollout at the Google Fiber Provo Website.
Google's plans are for Google Fiber to go national. Earlier in August, Google Fiber announced that the service is being spread to another 28 neighborhoods around its first service areas where it debuted in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.
Google Fiber's expansion has been steady since the Kansas City deployment began last year. In April, the Provo service was announced, just eight days after plans were unveiled to bring Google Fiber to Austin, Texas. The Provo project is the third U.S. community to be slated for Fiber service so far.
In the recently announced Austin Fiber project, Google says it plans to start connecting homes there by mid-2014. Customers there will have a similar choice of products that are being offered in Kansas City and Provo, including Gigabit Internet or Gigabit Internet plus Google Fiber TV service with nearly 200 HDTV channels.
Early results from the Kansas City rollout have been promising for Google Fiber based on Internet speed ratings reported by Netflix each month. Based on the small but growing deployment Google Fiber has in Kansas City today, the service is ranked No. 1 for Internet speeds across the nation, compared with competitors, according to the Netflix numbers. Google Fiber is listed at 3.45M-bps average speed, compared with 2.39M bps for its nearest rival, Cablevision Optimum.
In a related announcement, Google Fiber also unveiled the launching of its new VUDU on-demand video service on its Fiber TV Box that will allow subscribers to gain access to movies and TV shows through the system. Subscribers can use VUDU to rent or purchase movies and TV shows.