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Broadband

Google Fiber to launch 5-Gig and 8-Gig speed tiers in early 2023

Plowing ahead with a plan to introduce a wave of symmetrical multi-gigabit speed options, Google Fiber said Thursday that it will go wide with new 5-Gig and 8-Gig tiers in early 2023.

The company said it will sell the symmetrical 5-Gig service for $125 per month and the new 8-Gig tier for $150 per month. Google Fiber will also toss in a Wi-Fi 6 router (or allow subs to bring their own), up to two Wi-Fi mesh extenders and professional installation.

That pricing compares to $70 per month for Google Fiber's existing 1-Gig residential tier and $100 per month for its 2 Gbit/s downstream by 1 Gbit/s upstream offering.

Google Fiber is offering some existing customers the ability to test its new 5-Gig and 8-Gig speed options starting in November 2022. 
  (Source: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)
Google Fiber is offering some existing customers the ability to test its new 5-Gig and 8-Gig speed options starting in November 2022.
(Source: Zoonar GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)

Like Google Fiber's current speed options, the new, faster ones won't be saddled with data caps or long-term contracts, Amalia O'Sullivan, director of product management at Google Fiber, noted in this blog post.

O'Sullivan added that the company's customers in areas such as Utah, Kansas City and West Des Moines would have an opportunity to try out the new 5-Gig and 8-Gig speed plans as early as November via its "trusted tester" system.

The details come less than a month after Google Fiber CEO Dinni Jain hinted that new, multi-gig speed options were on the horizon, and that the speedier offerings marked "critical milestones on our journey to 100 Gig symmetrical Internet." He also pointed to a recent lab trial in Kansas City that pumped out about 20 Gbit/s in the downstream direction.

There is no mass-market use case yet for such speeds, but the new capabilities are being put in place "to make sure our customers are ready for whatever the Internet throws their way," O'Sullivan wrote. She suggested that 5-Gig and 8-Gig speeds will, of course, target the heaviest data users, as well as "creative professionals, people working in the cloud or with large data [and] households with large shared Internet demands."

Everyone's on the multi-gig path

Google Fiber's new speed options are arriving as other broadband service providers continue to develop and launch their own symmetrical multi-gigabit plans.

While much of that activity has been among fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service providers such as AT&T, Ziply Fiber and Frontier Communications, the cable industry is also heading down the same path. Cable operators are focusing on DOCSIS 4.0, an emerging platform for widely deployed hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks, as well as a grander 10G effort covering HFC, FTTP and wireless.

Among US cable companies, Comcast recently announced plans to launch symmetrical multi-gig services in some markets starting in 2023, and to extend that capability to more than 50 million homes and businesses before the end of 2025.

However, the cable industry has been driving a message lately that the future of broadband is more than speed, highlighting its work focusing on aspects such as low latency, security, and improved network resiliency and reliability.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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