As promised, Google Fiber has opened up registration for its gigabit broadband and TV service to all residents of Provo, Utah living along the path of the former iProvo network.
While Google Fiber Inc. initially launched service to a select group of Provo citizens in October (households that were already customers of a service that was temporarily run by Veracity Networks), the company has substantially widened its net to reach a larger pool of residents with its novel Internet and TV offerings. Google bought the municipally-owned fiber infrastructure in Provo that underlies its new service last July. (See Google Fiber Starts Utah Rollout.)
The Provo launch marks only the second regional rollout of Google's 1 Gbit/s service, which debuted in Kansas City about a year ago. However, even though it's only been available in a limited footprint, Google Fiber has already had a tremendous impact on the broadband industry. Google has popularized both the idea of 1-Gig Internet service and the pricing model of the $70-per-month gigabit contract. (See Keeping Up With Google Fiber.)
Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set a policy goal of creating a Gigabit City in every state by 2015. Then-Chairman Julius Genachowski cited a need to create innovations hubs throughout the US, and the FCC established several gigabit workshops to promote deployment best practices. (See Gigabit This, Google Fiber!.)
Meanwhile, traditional service providers have started to roll out their own gigabit deployments in response to Google Fiber. In October, for instance, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) launched U-verse with GigaPower in Austin, Texas.
Although the service only offers speeds up to 300 Mbits/s currently, AT&T has promised to increase speeds up to 1-Gig later this year. The company has also just announced that because of unexpected demand in the region, it now plans to expand its network's reach to twice as many households as originally planned.
Not too coincidentally, Google Fiber is also headed to Austin shortly. The gigabit pioneer plans to start its Austin rollout in the middle of this year. (See Austin Gets Google's Next Fiber Gig.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading