Friday, March 14, 2014

Google Fiber

        Google has come out with a new product called Google Fiber. It is a fiber optic network that provides extremely fast high definition television and internet that is 100 times faster than cable. It allows for extra DVR space and control through your phone. Google has already brought Fiber to three cities. Provo, Utah, Austin, Texas, and Kansas City. These cities still have fiber being constructed. Portland and the surrounding cities (Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, and Lake Oswego) are a potential area for Google Fiber.


        The Google Fiber team needs to work with the city leaders to build Google Fiber. They will send out a checklist to the mayors of the towns. Something that could keep Google Fiber away would be really hard soil or bedrock problems. Also if the topography is bad then that could also prevent Google Fiber from reaching us. Unfortunately, the topography near Portland is very bad with all of the volcanoes. There are so many hills it could cause a major problem and put us near the bottom of their list. I contacted the staff of Google Fiber and asked them if schools are a high priority for Fiber. According to the staff, schools, libraries, and other public places are very high on the list for Fiber. Unfortunately, whole cities have to be Fiber Cities for these educational environments to get anything.
Google Fiber comes with three plans. One of them is free internet. In this plan you get free internet at the regular slow speeds (5 mbps download and 1mbps upload speed) and nothing else. Although, there is a catch. You have to pay a $300 construction fee or pay $25 for twelve months. The construction fee is to install a Google Fiber cable into your home and it is to pay for the labor needed to install the cable. It also prepares your house for another plan if you ever want to switch. This is the regular speeds of broadband internet (you would be better off with Comcast rather than this plan). A second plan for Google Fiber is Gigabit Internet. You get only high speed internet with this plan. It is $70 a month plus taxes and fees and, luckily there is no $300 construction fee. A gigabit is 1000 mbps so compare that to the 5 mbps of most broadband internet. The last plan is the Gigabit/TV package. This is the full extent of Google Fiber with crystal clear HD television and a DVR that can record up to eight shows at one time and Gigabit internet. This for at $120 a month with no construction fee.
With the TV/Gigabit Internet plan you get over 200 HD channels and you can search for your favorite shows. It also comes with Netflix and Vudu. You get one Terabyte of cloud storage with two plans. Free internet does not have cloud storage. You get a Nexus Tablet which also serves as your remote and one included TV box. The second or third you have to buy separately. You also have a DVR and a two year contract.
Hopefully when Google Fiber comes to Portland, Springwater Trail High School can get it relatively quickly. This is part of a program called Community Connections. Places like community centers, schools, libraries, and other public areas get Gigabit internet for free. Unfortunately, Community Connections does not give Gigabit TV to the public places and only allows for internet. Since STHS is of high priority, our education is also of high priority. All and all, Google Fiber will help us further our education when it comes around.


Resources:

Pricing: https://fiber.google.com/cities/provo/plans/

Edit: Google Fiber is one step closer to Gresham. The city has sent the Fiber Ready Checklist back on time.

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