Google Fiber sets 1 GB prices at $70 in Austin, sign ups starting soon

With signups near, Google Fiber sets 1 GB prices at $70 in Austin

Google Fiber is launching in a pair of Austin neighborhoods next month, kicking off its drive to turn the city into its third 1 GB equipped market, and this week unveiled pricing plans.

Google Fiber will be available in three flavors, as it has been in Google’s two initial markets Kansas City and Provo, Utah:

The top of the line, TV plus 1 gigabyte symmetrical Internet will run $130 per month. It includes 150 HD channels, a DVR that can record up to eight channels at once and waives the $300 installation fee..

Customers also can sign up for just the 1 GB Internet service for $70 a month; they get 1 TB of cloud storage and Google will waive the $300 installation fee.

Free 5 MB Internet service is available for customers willing to pay the $300 installation fee, which can be paid in 12 installments.

Google has been working to install fiber in Austin since September, planning more than 3,000 miles of fiber in the market.

Although it plans to kick off signups in South and Southeast Austin in December, it hasn’t told potential customers when the service would actually be switched on.

The market is the third of as many as a dozen markets in which Google plans to offer Google Fiber. Last year, the company said it has plans to expand to 34 cities in nine metro areas (Portland, Ore., San Jose, Calif., San Antonio, Texas, Nashville, Raleigh-Durham, N.C., Charlotte, Va. and Atlanta).

When Google first announced plans for Google Fiber, the telecom industry generally pooh-poohed it, saying Google was unlikely to expand beyond its “experiment” in Kansas City.

But gigabit Internet speed has increasingly become a buzzword, a must-have – or, at the very least a want – in the industry.

A recent study from the Fiber to the Home Council said it found a positive economic impact on 14 communities that had gigabit Internet available, with roughly $1.4 billion in additional GDP over similar non-gigabit communities.

“Our study suggests that as gigabit services become available in more communities, the impact on economies and consumers is likely to be substantial,” wrote Heather Burnett Gold, president of the FTTH Council Americas and David Sosa, principal at the Analysis Group, in a post on the Google Fiber blog.

Rating agency Fitch, meanwhile, upgraded the bond ratings for Kansas City, Mo., saying Google Fiber “has the potential to make a significant economic impact” there.

Cox Communications recently rolled out 1 GB Internet in Phoenix and has said it will deploy the ultra high-sped Internet throughout its footprint.

In Austin, Grande Communications Holdings Inc. already delivers 1 GB speeds to several areas, with prices starting at $65 a month, although bundling its other services can deliver a lower price.

AT&T also is offering 1 GB service for $70 a month in parts of Austin, and also has announced expansion plans for its gigabit service, although it recently said that uncertainty about net neutrality regulations might force it to pause its expansion.

via Jim ONeil Media: Follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia