Saturday, 4 August 2012

How Does Your Internet Service Stack up to Google Fiber?

Google recently announced a supercharged fiber-optic  

Google recently announced a supercharged fiber-optic Internet and TV service that it’s testing in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo. Google Gigabit + Fiber TV will offer both insane Internet speeds and a souped-up TV package. It could be the future of broadband in the United States — someday.

Internet bandwidth will be 1 gigabit per second for downloads and uploads, with no data caps. That’s about 100 times faster than typical U.S. broadband connections, according to Google. With that, there would be no buffering before you watch a Netflix video, and most downloads and uploads would be virtually instantaneous.

The biggest TV feature is the DVR — able to record eight TV shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HDTV. Google also includes its Nexus 7 tablet, which acts as a remote control, among other things.

Customers can select just the gigabit Internet service for $70 per month or Internet and TV for $120. They can also opt for free Internet service at 5 megabits per second down and 1 Mbps up, but they have to pay a $300 setup fee.

But there is a catch. Google Fiber TV lacks many premium channels, such as AMC, HBO and ESPN. Google says it will be adding more channels in the future.

SEE ALSO: 5 Steps to Cut Cable and Enjoy TV for Half the Price (TechNewsDaily)
More important, Google Gigabit + Fiber TV is just a science experiment in a few neighborhoods (where enough people sign up) in two cities. And even if it comes to your town someday, it may be overkill. According a new survey by research firm NPD, 64% of Americans don’t even know what their maximum data download speed is. But 90% are happy with whatever they are getting.

Available Internet and TV Services, Compared

In the real world, you can’t yet match the Internet speeds and DVR options of Google Gigabit + Fiber TV. But you can get some close competitors all over the country — for a price. (Details may vary a bit depending on where you live.) Here are a few top-tier options:

AT&T: Max Turbo Internet and U-verse U450 TV

Internet: 24 megabits per second (Mbps) downloads/3Mbps uploads
Channels: 430, including Cinemax, HBO
DVR: One, records four channels at once, 65 hours HD
Availability: 22 states
Price: $188/month
Comcast: Xfinity Extreme 105 Internet and Digital Premier TV

Internet: 105 Mbps down/10 Mbps up
Channels: “More than 300,” including AMC, ESPN, HBO, Showtime
DVR: One, records two channels, 60 hours HD
Availability: 39 states and Washington, D.C.
Price: $180/month
(A 305/65 Mbps service for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic is in the works.)
Time-Warner: Signature Home package

Internet: 50 Mbps down/5 Mbps up
Channels: 350, premium channels cost extra
DVR: Two, each records two channels, 150 hours HD total
Also includes phone service
Availability: 29 states
Price: $199/month
Verizon FiOS 300 and Ultimate HD

Internet: 300 Mbps down/65 Mbps up
Channels: 380, including ESPN, NFL RedZone, Showtime
DVR: One, records two channels, 60 hours of HD
Availability: 12 states and Washington, D.C.
Price: $318/month
(Downgrading to 150Mbps Internet lowers total price to $178/month.)
Google: Gigabit + Fiber TV

Speed: 1,000 Mbps down/1,000 Mbps up
Channels: 162, including Showtime
DVR: One, records eight channels, 500 hours HDTV
Availability: Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.
Price: $120/month


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