Citizens of Austin, rejoice! Those who are getting ready to sign up for Google Fiber's super-fast Internet plan can soon reserve a package for the high-speed 1-Gigabit plan pegged at $70 a month at zero hidden charges or fees.
Google Fiber announced on its Google+ page that it will be offering three Internet plans for three different markets by the end of this year. The $70 plan, which is the mid-tier plan, delivers broadband Internet at a speed that is 10 times faster than the average 9.8 Mbps broadband speed in the United States. Just how fast is 1 Gbps (Gigabit per second) Internet? At this speed, a user can download an entire movie shot in high definition in just a little more than half a minute.
Aside from the broadband, Google will also throw in 1TB of online cloud storage for Gmail, Google Drive and Google+ Photos with this package.
Former state representative Mark Strama says ultra-fast Internet is not just meant for faster downloading or media streaming. It will also open up new opportunities as people increasingly turn to 1-Gigabit Internet.
"How you'll use 1-Gigabit in the near-term is to do the same things, just a whole lot faster," said Strama. "But what's really exciting about 1-Gigabit is all the apps that haven't even been developed yet."
The high-end Google Fiber package will cut customers back by $130 every month. That includes the 1 Gbps broadband and 1TB of cloud storage as well as 150 TV channels and a DVR that can record up to eight TV shows simultaneously.
On the lowest tier is Google's most basic plan, which offers customers a broadband package with 5-megabit download and 1-megabit upload speeds. The cost for this basic plan? Nothing, but customers will have to pay a one-time $300 construction fee or pay in $25 installments for a period of 12 months. After that, the broadband comes free.
Google does not specify when Austin will be able to experience the ultra-fast gigabit levels of Internet, but it says that residents in certain neighborhoods can start signing up in December. The company promised to bring Google Fiber to Austin in mid-2014 but says that it has taken its time to ensure that the 3,000 miles of brand new fiber optic cables deliver up to par services when its network becomes operational.
Google Fiber's prices are in line with AT&T's U-Verse with GigaPower at $70, which the company began offering in some Austin neighborhoods in response to Google's announcement that it is bringing Google Fiber to the area. The AT&T package, however, automatically enrolls customers into a web advertising program, unless they want to pay an additional $30 for an ad-free "standard" plan. Time Warner-Cable also upped its game, but only for its Austin market, by offering 300 Mbps broadband Internet at $78.