Selected Atlantans are soon to get a bit more “fiber” in their diets. Google’s announcement on Tuesday revealed that they are bringing fiber to select cities in Metro Atlanta. Though it’ll be some time before the service is live, the benefits will come much sooner.
Depending on where you live in the metro area, you most likely have internet service with Comcast or AT&T. With the former, you can get up to 105 Mbps download for $115/month with a 300GB data cap, and the latter up to 45 Mbps download for $70/month with an unenforced 250GB data cap. Data-heavy users can pursue a Comcast Business Class offering of up 50 Mbps download without a data cap, but with the added delight of a multi-year contract.
Other than these options, there really is not much in the way of competition for reliable internet. The situation was similar in Provo, Utah: a limited number of providers (including Comcast) with little competition. Enter Google Fiber. Google Fiber offers symmetrical gigabit (1 Gbps download and upload) internet speeds with no contract and no data cap for $70/month. Customers can also add television for an additional $50/month. That’s ten times the speed of Comcast’s fastest residential tier for 40% of the cost.
Comcast, not too long after Google’s announcement of Fiber coming to Provo, both increased speeds for existing customers and released a $120/month bundle of TV, phone, and 105 Mbps internet for new customers. Despite their attempts to overcome the fiber sensation, locals overwhelmed Google with applications to get service at their homes. Less speed for more money just isn’t good enough.
The competition will be very beneficial for those in the metro area. The announced “fiberhoods” (City of Atlanta, Avondale Estates, Brookhaven, College Park, Decatur, East Point, Hapeville, Sandy Springs, and Smyrna) are almost all inside the perimeter. Though a large area is covered, not everyone will be blessed with Google Fiber.
Comcast and AT&T will be scrambling to deliver comparable internet at an affordable price not only for those inside the fiberhoods, but in the entire area. We should expect to see similar response from Comcast and AT&T as was seen in Provo: speed boosts for existing customers and better deals for new customers. Though these attempts aren’t coming close to what Google has to offer, they certainly help out those customers that aren’t lucky enough to get Google Fiber.
What does this all mean? Despite Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T and others telling us otherwise, Google Fiber has clearly shown that the demand for high-speed, reliable internet at an affordable cost is there. Their expansion into Atlanta and other areas like Raleigh-Durham, NC will only continue to push internet providers to provide comparable service across the country and close the bandwidth gap once and for all.