I reported the Google typo yesterday and it has been fixed now, Mbps it is. No change to their “free” tier of service though, so 5Mbps it is.
I got a lot of feedback on my “negativity” over this, both on the neighborhood forum, the comment below, and via personal email. And yes, being able to pay the $300 fee in installments is a good break. So it looks correct, 5Mbps while useful, really isn’t good enough for a family except for email, facebook and infrequent youtube/netflx.
TWC offer a comparable 6/1Mbps plan for $29+modem/wifi, taxes fees. < Which is non-competitive on price/performance to most of the rest of the world where cable exists, where are 4/1 service costs less than $20 per month, and often as low as $12 per month. Fiber providers are 40/10Mbps packages for $25-$35 per month or better, and thats what I was really hoping we'd see.
Well Google fiber is on its way, they’ve sprayed marked across our front yards this week ready to install the vaults, most people don’t understand these will be buried in your front yard, after all fiber optic cable isn’t your parents cable.
In other news, Google have announced the Austin pricing and service speeds, and I have to say, it’s pretty disappointing really.
First up as seen in this screen capture, their website lists speeds in Mpbs. I work in the tech sector, heck I used to be a networking specialist, I admit I have no idea what Mpbs is. So I googled it, and Google asked Did you mean:Mbps
Normally network speeds are indeed listed as Mbps. Megabits per second. Unlike disk/file storage which is most often described as MB, and sometimes MBps megabytes per second. In storage you are storing files and characters, so a byte has a meaning and it’s important to understand. In networking, especially streaming music, tv, video it really doesn’t, so bytes really don’t have any meaning, and Megabits is the norm. Also, Megabits are also in units of 1000, in the old days it was often expressed as 1024 but no longer.
So we really have no idea what Google are offering. Lets assume thats just sloppy web content creation, and that 1,000 Mpbs is really 1,000 Mbps, which is 1-Gigabit, which is what Google have been touting, by coincidence. I’m really left wondering though what their free offering is though? 5 Mbps is really for the most part unusable for anything other than sending email asynchronously. So I assume that should really be 5 MBps, as in megabytes. But as discussed earlier that isn’t really a usable measure, although it’s pretty standard marketing BS from the existing cable cartel companies used to confuse people.
If it is 5-MBps, then it could be 40-Mbps, which would be more usable, either way the web page is a shambles.
Given these assumptions, overall the Google pricing is disappointing. Google are for the most part just joining the existing cable cartel. Yes they are bringing fiber speed but they are really doing nothing to help with pricing. The $300 installation fee for the entry services is a barrier to entry for low income households.
$70 is great for those that can afford it, getting potentially a 100x increase in download speed, if the network inside your house can exploit it. Remember you’ll need gigabit ethernet ports on all your devices, gigabit wifi(which doesn’t exist as a domestic standard) and of course a Google compatible gigabit cable modem and switch.
What is more disappointing is the pricing though. It’s slightly more expensive minus taxes and fees than the TWC Service I’m paying for at the moment.. What about something in between for low income households? $35 a month for 100Mbps?
The cable industry is in turmoil, customers leaving in droves, and they are being squeezed at the content end and their costs for programming are soaring. It looks like Time Warner Cable is going to get divested, broken up, bought up merged, or something along those lines. Motley Fool posted this analysis that they are not expecting this to lower your bills.
TIme Techland has a write-up on the new cable company promotion web site, “The hole saga” and the state of the cable industry. Author Harry McCraken speculates about the poor performance of the website “one loaded with so much video that it takes an eternity to load”. I did some quick traces using Chrome, it looks like it’s actually designed to be slow, probably to give the appearance that streaming video is a bad idea compared to cable.
I wrote the following in response to Harrys article.
No, we don’t love cable, we resent it. Love for cable was back in the 80’s we were both young, and TV was still exciting, MTV was happening, and the world was opening up.
Now cable is pretty much unchanged, it hasn’t reduced in price, while pretty much everything else has(cars, airfares, clothes, food). The number and types of entertainment options have exploded, content is everywhere. Yet, like your Dad, in the 70’s, cable still controls what you watch and when. Cable is like an abusive parent. Yeah its out there but we avoid it when we can
This application of the City of Austin website indicates that google fiber is coming to my neighborhood, and specifically includes my block. I’m delighted although Google have yet to announce this, and I’ve not seen the pricing or terms and conditions, it can only be a good thing.
Since my last post on the subject I’ve been diligently removing Time Warner Cable services. First up I cancelled Home Phone and Cable TV, installed a DISH package, and then over the weekend, I replaced my 2005 Time Warner Cable modem with a 2012 Netgear CMD31T cable modem.
It took the “chat agent” a long time… to do what ever they do when you switch over and give them the MAC address for your new modem, but eventually came back and confirmed I could power off and disconnect their modem and connect mine.
Everything appeared to go OK, but disappointment struck soon after. Right before I shutdown their modem, I ran a speedtest using my Samsung S3 over wifi to the same router, connected by the same cable, to the new Netgear modem. My speed had dropped by about 1/4, up and down.
Using their modem I regularly got:
DOWN: 18.39Mbps, UP: 1.89Mbps
since the disconnect:
DOWN: 14.12Mbps, UP: 0.99Mbps
It’s usable but disappointing. Disappointing because this is exactly the type of BS I expected. Unless the “chat operative” did something obviously wrong, this will take forever to resolve either in person, or over the network. Still onward.
From a financial perspective, I’ve reduced my monthly expenditure from $203 for the TWC Triple with Turbo Internet package, to the Turbo Internet package for $54.99. Looking at the billing options, it may be that I’ve actually gone down to the Basic Internet service at $44.99 based on the speeds I’m getting. Thats not what’s shown online though.
On top of the $54.99 TWC bill, I have to add a full DISH network service, including HBO of $65.61, both inc. taxes, which takes me to $120.60. I’m currently on a DISH introductory offer which is $50 per month.