Just when you think landlines are a thing of a past, Google announced plans to provide a “Fiber Phone,” that lets you make unlimited local and nationwide calling, and international calls for the same rates as Google Voice.
The Fiber Phone isn’t a physical phone, it’s a phone number that lives in the cloud that you can add to your existing Google Fiber plan for $10 a month. It mimics most of Google Voice’s features, such as the ability to transcribe your voicemail messages and send it back to you as a text or email. You can also use the number on any phone, laptop, and tablet, and it can “ring your landline when you’re home, or your mobile device when you’re on-the-go,” according to the blog post announcement.
“While mobile phones have pushed us toward the future, home phone service is still important to many families,” said John Shriver-Blake, product manager at Google Fiber. “Landlines can be familiar, reliable and provide high-quality service, but the technology hasn’t always kept up.”
Fiber Phone service is being rolled out to select areas during its initial launch, but it will eventually be an option for customers in every city Google Fiber has reached. Once it comes to your city, if you choose to sign up you have the option of keeping your old number or picking a new one, and other familiar features like caller ID, 911 services, and call waiting will still be available.
You will also receive a “Fiber Phone box” when you sign up for the service, and it’s compatible with the phones you currently own. The Fiber Phone service will also have privacy controls, “like spam filtering, call screening, and do-not-disturb.”
The new service sets up Google to potentially replace your cable provider if Fiber comes to your city — as the service will likely offer similar triple play-styled plans like its competitors as it continues to expand.
Right now if you pick Google Fiber’s most expensive plan, that will give you 1-gigabit per second upload and download speeds for internet, access to more than 150 channels with HD, and Fiber Phone service for $140 a month. Compare that to Verizon’s most expensive plan, which offers 150-megabits per second upload and download speeds, access to more than 575 channels including HD, and basic home phone service for $145 a month.