Earlier today, Google announced the launch of Google Fiber, its 1 gigabit per second Internet service, in Kasas City. While this is truly a noteworthy announcement, the biggest news lies just beneath the surface: Google is now a television service provider.
Kansas City residents will now have the option to bundle 1 gigabit Internet access with Google’s new Fiber TV, a set-top box that gives users access to more than 160 live-TV channels, plus TV and movies on-demand and, of course, Internet-based video content. Full-high-defintion video is offered at no extra charge. Customers also receive a DVR capable of storing 500 hours of HD video. The gigabit Internet + TV bundle costs $120 per month with a two-year contract.
In short: This is not just some Google TV gimmick that nobody wants. This is regular TV. And, from the looks of it, it’s better than or equal to what you’ll get from most major cable TV or satellite providers.
At the moment, it’s not possible to get Fiber TV without also paying for Internet access. Also, Google isn’t just building out its physical fiber infrastructure, then seeing who wants in. It’s doing it the other way around. A certain number of Kansas city resident have about 45 days from the time of this writing to pre-order the service. Once they do, Google will install fiber in certain “fiberhoods,” neighborhoods where the number of pre-order households meets Google’s quota.
Clearly, this whole thing is a big experiment by Google to test out its ability to become an Internet and TV service provider. But unless we’re totally nuts, it seems like this is going to be more than just a hit — it’s going to be a revolution. Few industries need shaken up as much as the cable TV industry. And Google is just the company to do it. Bring it on, Google. Bring. It. On.
Google has posted an hour-long video about Google Fiber and all it has to offer. The section on Fiber TV starts at 28:54.