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Image credit: George Frey / reuters

Google Fiber's two gigabit broadband is almost ready

The $100 service is coming soon to select users in Nashville and Huntsville.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
September 16, 2020
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A technician installs fiber optic cabling at a residential home as part of Google Fiber services in Provo, Utah, January 2, 2014.  Provo is one of three cities Google is currently building and installing gigabit internet and television service for business and residential use.  REUTERS/George Frey (UNITED STATES - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS)
George Frey / reuters

Google Fiber is about to start testing a new 2 Gbps internet service in two cities with the plan to launch it widely in 2021, the company announced. The plan will cost $100 per month, or $30 more than the current 1 Gbps service. In exchange, you’ll get double the download speeds, though uploads will remain unchanged at 1 Gbps. Customers who sign up will also get a WiFi 6 router that will presumably support the higher speeds, along with a mesh extender to distribute WiFi around your house.

The company is calling for “super users” and others in Nashville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama to join its Trusted Tester program and help it work out the bugs. It will eventually launch the service in most of Google’s 19 Fiber and wireless Fiber Webpass cities by early 2021.

The main benefit of 2 Gbps is that everyone in your family will get higher speeds. However, if you want the full 2 Gbps to yourself, you’ll need a device that supports such speeds — and there aren’t many around yet. WiFi 6 offers theoretical dual stream (2x2) speeds of up to 2.4 Gbps, but real-world speeds are much lower depending on your device and distance from the router. (WiFi 5 devices don’t even support 1 Gbps speeds.) Google hasn’t mentioned how hard-wired connections will work, but going past 1 Gbps with a wired connection can also get complicated.

Google Fiber has been in a long lull of late, with West Des Moines being the first new city expansion in four years. Google has hit obstacles running fiber-optic cables, and recently restructured its operations to focus on wireless internet via its Google Fiber Webpass business. The company also simplified its offerings by dropping the 100 Mbps internet tier (for new customers) and eliminating the TV package.

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