'What is Google Fiber?': Everything you need to know about Google's high-speed internet service

'What is Google Fiber?': Everything you need to know about Google's high-speed internet service

google fiber installation

Reuters/George Frey

Google Fiber is a high-speed internet service that Google is currently deploying in 18 cities across the US. Here's what you need to know about it.

  • Google Fiber is a broadband internet service that Google is currently deploying in 18 cities across the US.
  • The service is notable because of its high speed, running up to 1000 Mbps, with a friendly month-to-month, all-inclusive pricing scheme.
  • Despite the initial promise of the network, Google has paused expansion of Fiber beyond its current 18 cities, and notably pulled Fiber out of several cities where it attempted to deploy the service.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Google Fiber is Google's fiber optic-based broadband internet service that debuted in 2010. It's a "fiber-to-the-premises" service that delivers high-speed connectivity to businesses and individuals in select cities.

While it once appeared that Google intended to roll out Google Fiber across the entire US, the company "paused" deployment of the service in 2016, and it hasn't announced plans for further expansion beyond its current selection of 18 cities.

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"We do not have anything to share on expanding beyond our current markets at this time," a Google Fiber spokesperson told Business Insider, when asked about possible expansion of the service. "Currently, we're focused on providing a great customer service experience for customers in the areas where we are available."

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Where Google Fiber currently operates

Where Google Fiber currently operates

The service is currently operating or rolling out operations in 18 cities, including: Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; and 11 others.

Google has recently pulled Fiber out of a few other cities, including Boston, Massachusetts, and the notable case of Louisville, Kentucky, where Google will reportedly pay $4 million to the city over the next 19 months for damages resulting from a failed attempt to deploy the service.

But if you're located in one of the cities in which Google Fiber currently operates, you can enter your address to check for availability at your specific address (coverage within cities is not comprehensive), sign up for service, or get additional information on the Google Fiber website.

What Google Fiber offers

What Google Fiber offers

Much of the appeal of Google Fiber is in its bandwidth. While the national average for internet access is about 11.5 Mbps, Google Fiber boasts a top speed of 1,000 Mbps (or 1 Gbps) at the highest tier of service.

Like most broadband internet services, Google Fiber is a shared network, which means that the speed you can achieve depends upon how much data your neighbors are using at the same time. But because Google Fiber is built to support 1000 Mbps, the bandwidth is so high that it's unlikely any individual customer's bandwidth would be affected by other customers.

The pricing for service varies by region, but most Google Fiber customers can expect to pay about $50/month for 100 Mbps service and $70/month for 1000 Mbps. Google Fiber also includes an option for cable television, which adds about $90/month to the basic plan. In all cases, the pricing is all-inclusive and billed month-to-month, with no annual service contracts, fees for rental equipment, or monthly data caps.


The service's change of course

Since Google has pulled back plans to deploy Google Fiber widely across the US, and pulled out of several cities it attempted to deploy in, critics have occasionally labeled the initiative a "failure."

While this at least represents a notable change of course for the company, one industry insider told Business Insider that Google Fiber's presence in Austin, Texas, in particular, has had a positive effect on the local broadband industry, spurring competition and even growth.

Dustin Bolander, CIO of IT services company Technology Pointe, told Business Insider: "Here in Austin, we have seen some of Google's competitors cut prices by as much as 50% in response to the hype that accompanies Google Fiber."

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