Well, this is just dandy. According to Netflix, Google Fiber is the most consistently fast Internet service provider (ISP) in these United States. Too bad most of us won’t have the chance to use it for a very long time – maybe ever.
Based on “actual” user speeds for the month of November, Google Fiber – which is currently only available to residents of Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas) – streamed Netflix videos at an average rate of 2.55 megabits per second. The second closest was Verizon FiOS, at 2.19 Mbps, followed by Comcast and Charter, both of which clocked in at 2.17 Mbps.
Now wait a gosh darn second, you might be saying to yourself. Isn’t Google Fiber supposed to top out at 1gigabit-per-second? Or, if not that, at least the 700 Mbps I saw in that Ars Technica article a month or so ago? Well, perhaps. According to Netflix VP of Content Delivery Ken Florance, “The average performance is well below the peak performance due to a variety of factors including home Wi-Fi, a variety of devices, and a variety of encodes.” Still, wrote Florance in the announcement, Netflix’s “relative ranking … should be an accurate indicator of relative bandwidth typically experienced across all users, homes, and applications.”
Of course, all of this is just fan-freakin-tastic, if you live in Kansas City. But what about the rest of us? Unfortunately, things don’t look so hot. A recent report from Goldman Sachs estimates that it would cost Google approximately $140 billion to build out Google Fiber nationwide. And since Google only has about $45 billion in the bank, well, don’t hold your breath.
The best bet now is Verizon FiOS – but even that falls far short of Fiber’s 1 Gbps status. And other ISPs, like Time Warner Cable, say that the time isn’t yet right for such super-awesome Internet – but that it will arrive when the market’s ready for it to arrive.
“It will be interesting to find out whether there are applications that will take advantage of a 1 Gbps service,” said Time Warner Cable’s COO Rob Marcus at an industry event last week. “If there is, we will provide it. Our infrastructure has the ability to provide much faster speeds today. We’re prepared to compete head to head with Google.”
That’s right, you could have “much faster” Internet through TWC right now, but too bad! You’re just going to have to wait.
If TWC, Verizon, or any other ISP decides to match Google’s 1 Gbps Internet speeds, we can only hope that they’ll match Google’s pricing, too: Just $70 per month, or $120 per month with TV service and a free Nexus 7 tablet. That’s right – a free tablet. The next closest thing those of us outside Kansas City can get is Verizon’s FiOS Quantum Ultimate plan, which offers up to 300 Mbps for around $200 a month.
In the fat chance that any other ISPs do start to catch up with Google Fiber, Netflix says they’ll let us know, as they’ll be releasing these streaming speed reports every month from now on.
See Netflix’s full list below: