Gigabit Cities

Google Fiber Moves a Step Closer to Cable

Google Fiber is using its fiber network for something new. Or maybe more accurately, something old.

After reports surfaced in January about Google Fiber Inc. testing a new landline service, the Internet giant announced today the launch of Google Fiber Phone. Fiber Phone is very similar to Google Voice except it runs over Google Fiber's own network infrastructure. The service costs $10 per month and offers unlimited domestic calling with international rates typically hovering between a penny or two and a dime per minute.

Like Google Voice, Fiber Phone hosts a user's phone number in the cloud making it possible to forward calls to a mobile device as needed. The service also includes several old-school features like call waiting, caller ID and 911 emergency services, as well as free voicemail transcription with messages made accessible over text or email.

Want to learn more about Google Fiber? There's still time to register for our Gigabit Cities Live event in Charlotte on April 5 and hear Google Fiber's Michael Slinger speak.

So why introduce landline service? Google Fiber says the technology is still important to many families, and it may see an opportunity to reintroduce the concept of a single number that reaches multiple people in a household. The company may also, however, simply believe that offering a triple-play bundle of services -- video, voice and data -- is necessary to compete with incumbent cable and telecom operators.

So far Google Fiber isn't saying which communities will get the new Fiber Phone service first, but it will eventually roll out landline voice to all of its Fiber cities. Fiber deployments have been slow to date, but the company plans to ramp up its network build-outs in 2016. Newer cities on the Google Fiber list for this year include Atlanta; Nashville; Salt Lake City; and Charlotte, NC. (See Google Will Accelerate Fiber, Cloud in 2016 and Alphabet Is Serious About Google Fiber.)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

kq4ym 4/11/2016 | 12:34:53 PM
Re: google Interestingly, landline phones do not rely on electical power to the house. That is unless you have a phone set that requires it to be plugged in. The old standby phone relies on DC power coming through the phone wires not AC electric from your walls.  Another interesting fact about landline phones is even if there's no service to the phone, i.e. you've quit your service to the phone company, the phone can still be used to dial 911. (Don't test that unless you've made arrangement with your 911 folks first to test)
Joe Stanganelli 3/31/2016 | 11:48:30 AM
Re: Google transcription I like all the acqui-hires they make but they won't (or, possibly, can't) pony up for Dragon (whose dictation is amazing).
KBode 3/30/2016 | 12:50:05 PM
Re: Google transcription I'd agree. And they've been collecting and analyzing these transcriptions for years, yet they don't seem to get better. Some Google Voice functionality is handy though, even though they appear to have put inprovements to the service on ice for years now. 
Joe Stanganelli 3/30/2016 | 8:55:59 AM
Google transcription "free voicemail transcription with messages made accessible over text or email."

Have you seen Google's transcription of voicemails?  A blind and deaf rabbit with ADHD could do a better job.
steve q 3/29/2016 | 10:33:47 PM
google How is google voice going to be able to work when those customers lose their power. Like the everyday telephone service, it needs power so the basic outgoing call can be made, will they be able to transfer there calling to their cellphone including e911. And how will the customer use life line.
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